17 Jan Championship Weekend: Green Bay vs. Seattle and Indianapolis vs. New England
The Teaser: Pair Green Bay and Indianapolis
Game 1: Green Bay vs. Seattle
The Initial Line:
Green Bay +7.5 away vs. Seattle
Add 7.5 points to Green Bay’s line
The Final Line:
Green Bay +15
Green Bay was able to pull out a tight victory in the Divisional Round, getting the home win over Dallas 26-21. After a disputed Dez Bryant incompletion, Green Bay was able to hold on to seal it. Aaron Rodgers had a great performance despite the calf injury worries, going 24-35 for 316 yds with 3 touchdowns. Eddie Lacy also had a strong game, as he rushed 19 times for 101 yds adding to the 416 total yards put out by the Green Bay offense. Seattle got the home victory over Carolina, pulling away in the 4th quarter to clinch it 31-17. Not surprisingly the defense starred in this one, as they forced 3 turnovers including a 90 yd INT return for a TD by Kam Chancellor. Russell Wilson also had a great game, passing for 268 yds and 3 TDs.
The 2 best teams in the NFC will face off in the NFC Championship Sunday, as Seattle hosts Green Bay with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Everyone knows Seattle’s home-field advantage, but let’s look closer at the statistics. Everyone has been concerned with Rodgers’ leg injury, but it didn’t seem to phase him against Dallas as he put up another stellar performance in a huge game last week. It is also assumed that Seattle has the better defense as they ranked 1st this season in yards allowed. However it was Green Bay who led the NFL in turnover differential, as their defense makes the big play and the offense does a great job of protecting the ball. This game will be a battle as both teams have playmakers who can change the outcome. Seattle is the favorite and rightfully so, but don’t expect Green Bay to lay down after they’ve come this far. Take them with a 2 TD cushion; they will keep it close if not pull the upset.
Game 2: Indianapolis vs. New England
The Initial Line:
Indianapolis +7 away vs. New England
Add 7.5 points to Indianapolis’ line
The Final Line:
Indianapolis pulled out the huge upset road victory against Denver, winning 24-13. Andrew Luck played a great game, as he threw for 265 yds, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs while handing Denver their first home loss of the season. The defense was probably more impressive, however; they held a potent Denver offense to under 300 yds of offense on the road. New England survived another tough bout against the playoff rival Baltimore, squeaking out the home victory 35-31. They found themselves down 14 points twice in this game, but Tom Brady helped them battle back with 367 yds, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. Rob Gronkowski was his main target, as he caught 7 passes for 108 yds and a TD. The defense was also able to force 2 INTs against Joe Flacco which ended up making the difference.
Besides Denver, New England and Indianapolis were the 2 top scoring offenses in the AFC. Andrew Luck has the most passing TDs in the NFL, with 40 total on the season. Also surprisingly for some, Indianapolis had a decent defense ranking 11th in yards allowed, while New England ranked 13th. Indy will have to do a better job of defending the run, as they allowed over 200 yards on the ground the last time they faced New England. Both of these teams have a lot of firepower on offense, so expect a high scoring game here. New England will have their hands full with Andrew Luck, as he looks to defeat 2 of the best QBs of all time in the same postseason. This game will stay close, so take Indy with a 2 Td cushion.