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The best weekend in football starts tomorrow. What will the AFC and NFC Championship games look like?
Playoffs, baby! That's something Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans haven't been able to say in a very long time. But we can still watch the playoff games and root vicariously for (or against) teams. So, here are my picks.
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Joe Flacco versus Von Miller. Peyton Manning versus Ray Lewis. The final dance of the legendary linebacker? An impressive comeback for the legendary quarterback? This should be one hell of a game. Except, I don't think it's going to be particularly close. No team in football looks as good as the Broncos, to me. They have an explosive passing game, and one of the most devastating defenses in the NFL, led by Von Miller. There's no way the Ravens can protect Joe Flacco from that pass rush, and the Ray Lewis is too slow to do much in coverage against Peyton Manning.
Pick: 27-10, Broncos
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, Fox
The explosive passing game with a good pass defense against a ground-and-pound offense with an inexperienced quarterback and a stifling defense. This could be a pretty interesting game, and it really should be very close. Ultimately, it should come down to Colin Kaepernick: can he step up and deliver against a tough Green Bay squad, the way Alex Smith did against the New Orleans Saints last year? Honestly, I don't think he can.
Pick: 27-17, Packers
Seahawks vs. Falcons
Sunday, 1 p.m., Fox
This is a game I'll be watching with interest. Because, obviously, I want the Falcons to lose. And I quite like this Seahawks squad: the gigantic cornerbacks, the tiny quarterback, Marshawn Lynch's skittles and Pete Carroll's grandpa-on-LSD antics -- it's all very entertaining. And they really do look good. But are they good enough to beat the Atlanta Falcons, in an early east-coast game, in Atlanta? That will be tough.
Pick: 23-20, Falcons
Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Hello there, blowout. Yep. I said it. Blowout. Some people may not like Aqib Talib, but he's certainly helped give the Patriots a decent pass defense for the first time in half a decade. Tom Brady's good as always, they have a quality running game and even a pass rush. I don't see how they don't win this, and how we don't have yet another Peyton Manning - Tom Brady face off next weekend.
Pick: 27-17 Patriots
So, what are your picks? Who will win this weekend's games?