In the AFC a battle of bitter division rivals will square off to do battle under frigid conditions in Pittsburgh. The Steelers swept the Ravens in the regular season series in the most remarkable of fasions. The first game was an over time thriller that ended with a Jeff Reed field goal that just snuck in through the left upright to give the Steelers the 23-20 victory. The second game ended on a controversial call with Ben Roethisberger throwing the game winning touchdown to Santonio Holmes. The Steelers got the best of the Ravens in that game 13-9.
Nevermind the regular season, this is the playoffs. Both the Ravens and the Steelers come in to this game on fire. The Ravens are coming into the Championship game after dismantling the the feel good story Miami Dolphins and then escaping Tennessee with 3 more turnovers to their defences credit and a win. The Steelers got to sit out the first round by earning their selves the 2 seed and the bye. The Steelers took advantage of their bye and a San Diego Chargers team minus LaDainian Tomlinson. In the NFL health is pinnical for success in the playoffsLaDron McClain and Willis McGahee are banged up as well. The last factor in the game is the match up between rookie quarterback Joe Flacco and playoff savoy Ben Roethisberger. Joe Flacco has had one of the greatest seasons for a rookie quarterback ever, however going toe to toe with Roethisberger and the Steelers defense might prove to be too much for the rookie. I would like to think this is going to be a close game, but the facts are stating otherwise.
Prediction: Steelers 24-Ravens 10
The NFC Championship game is the game of "house money." Not even Philadelphia and Arizona fans would have drafted a playoff bracket like this. The Eagles got into the playoffs by... well you know the story. The Cardinals got in to the playoffs...well simply because somebody had to win that division. The Eagles are in the NFC championship for the 5th time in 8 years, however the same can not be said for the Cardinals, they are playing in their first championship game ever. The Eagles played the Cardinals on Thanksgiving and gave them a severe beat down 48-20. The popular thing to say lately is to throw that game away. The reason why you throw that game away is because both teams (not just the Cardinals as many national media members are saying) are different, and like I said in the AFC preview, this is the playoffs. Another sexy observation by the national media is that the Cardinals now have a vaunted rushing attack, lets just wait and see what Jim Johnson has to say about that. Like the AFC game, the last factor in the NFC game could come down to quarterbacks. Kurt Warner has played in NFC championships and SuperBowls, but so has Super 5, D-Mac, Donovan McNabb who has some unfinished business and something to prove. While Warner has been there before, most of his Cardinal teammates have not, and they are not ready for a hot and hungry Eagle team.
Prediction: Eagles 27- Cardinals 17