Bryan Paul’s Puzzling NFL Predictions: Conference Championships
January 19, 2013 1 Comment
After a disappointing Wild Card round, last weekend’s National Football League’s divisional playoff games gave fans a compelling and entertaining experience. The Baltimore Ravens stunned the Denver Broncos with a 70-yard Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones touchdown pass to tie the game with 31 seconds left in regulation. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker later made a 47-yard field goal in the second overtime period to give Baltimore a 38-35 triumph. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recorded 444 total yards and four touchdowns as his team beat the Green Bay Packers 45-31. After his team surrendered a 20-point fourth quarter lead, quarterback Matt Ryan rallied the Atlanta Falcons to a go-ahead field goal. Atlanta’s defense kept the Seattle Seahawks out of the end zone, securing a 30-28 win. The New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans for a second time this season with a 41-28 home victory.
Here are four conference championship facts involving the remaining NFL playoff teams.
1. Every NFC team has played in the conference championship game at least once. The Falcons will host the game for the first time on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only NFC teams that have never played at home in the conference title game.
2. In the last four years, two coaches, Jets coach Rex Ryan in 2010 and 2011 and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in 2012 and 2013, have brought their teams to the conference championship in their first two seasons with their teams. Harbaugh doesn’t want San Francisco to have the same result that New York had in back-to-back conference championship appearances. The Jets lost both AFC Championship Games in Ryan’s first two seasons as coach. The 49ers lost last year’s NFC Championship Game in Harbaugh’s first season with the team.
3. The Ravens/Patriots game on Sunday is the first AFC Championship Game rematch since the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos played each other in 1987 and 1988. Denver won both those games. New England won the championship last year.
4. The Patriots are hosting the AFC Championship Game for the fourth time in franchise history. They are 3-0 in home conference title games.
In addition to these facts, statistics from history and pop culture indicate what teams will reach Super Bowl XLVII. This post will consist of four miscellaneous facts broken up into quarters to choose a winner in each game. In the event of a 2-2 tie, a fifth “overtime” fact will determine the prediction.
You don’t need to know anything about football to enjoy this analysis. Enjoy these unique NFL conference championship predictions.
San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1) at Atlanta Falcons (14-3)-Jan. 20-3 p.m.-Fox
Deion Sanders played for the Falcons from 1989 until 1993. He then signed with the 49ers for the 1994 season. Atlanta won one playoff game with Sanders on the team. San Francisco won three.
San Francisco, 1-0
Sanders retired in 2006, the year Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes. The home team in the NFC Championship Game is 3-0 in years Cruise ties the knot. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Cruise is single. Another marriage doesn’t appear imminent.
San Francisco, 2-0
Cruise made his first film appearance in 1981. MTV debuted on television on Aug. 1, 1981. The first music video the station aired was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. The network’s existence will kill Atlanta’s chances of winning the NFC title. Since the channel launched, the Falcons are 6-9 in playoff games. The 49ers are 25-14.
San Francisco, 3-0
MTV broadcasted Total Request Live from Sept. 14, 1998 until Nov. 16, 2008. The Falcons enjoyed the music video countdown program more than the 49ers. While MTV aired the show, Atlanta was 6-5 against San Francisco.
San Francisco, 3-1
Bryan Paul’s Pick: San Francisco
Pollock’s Pick: San Francisco
Baltimore Ravens (12-6) at New England Patriots (13-4)-Jan. 20-6:30 p.m.-CBS
Carson Daly hosted TRL from 1998-2002. While he emceed the show, Baltimore was 22-22 in road games. New England was 26-15 in home games. His departure didn’t impact Baltimore’s road or New England’s home record. Since he left TRL, the Ravens are 39-50 in on the road. The Patriots are 78-14 at home.
New England, 1-0
Daly has hosted The Voice on NBC since the musical reality show premiered in 2011. Singer Christina Aguilera has been a judge and a coach on the program for three seasons. She has recorded seven studio albums during her career. In years Aguilera has released an album, the Patriots have won 67 games. Baltimore has won 68. She hasn’t announced that a new album is coming out this year.
New England, 2-0
Aguilera was a cast member of The Mickey Mouse Club from 1993-95. The Patriots are glad she left the children’s variety show. From 1993-95, New England was 21-28. Since 1995, the Patriots are 209-92.
New England, 3-0
The Mickey Mouse Club went off the air in 1996, the year Yasser Arafat won election as President of the Palestinian National Authority. Arafat died in 2004. The Patriots are 15-5 against AFC North teams since he passed away. The Ravens are 13-7 against AFC East teams.
New England, 4-0
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New England
Pollock’s Pick: New England
Bryan Paul’s divisional playoff record: 2-2
Bryan Paul’s Postseason record: 6-2
Bryan Paul’s season record: 155-108-1
Pollock’s divisional playoff record: 3-1
Pollock’s Postseason record: 6-2
Pollock’s season record 177-86-1
Head-to-head matchups in divisional playoffs: Pollock, 1-0
Head-to-head matchups in postseason: Tied, 1-1
Head-to-head matchups this season: Pollock, 65-43
Feb. 1: Super Bowl XLVII ______________________________________________________________________________