My predictions for today’s championship games in the NFL

Who’s going to the Super Bowl? Check out my predictions below.

They meet again.

NEW ENGLAND (2) VS DENVER (1)

Are you sick of this narrative? I hope not. This may be the last time we will see Tom Brady and Peyton Manning face each other in a game. The stakes are at the highest for these two once again and we could see another classic game.

Manning is still working his way back into football shape but appears to have gotten it back just in time. He didn’t look all too great last week but the defense and the running game kept the Broncos against the Steelers. But in order for the Broncos to have any change, the receivers cannot afford to have so many dropped passes. It will be on them ad the defense to give the Broncos a chance.

Brady seems to have a better offensive game plan working for him. Much like the Broncos, the receivers have to make the catches. Julian Edelman has to avoid the early yips to get the Patriots offense going. Without an established running attack, could we see a continuation of a committee or the Patriots trying to focus more on passing? I think the passing game will still be big and Rob Gronkowski will be in the middle of it all.

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My predictions for Saturday’s Divisional round games

Here are my predictions for the second round of the playoffs.

The Chiefs pass rush could frustrate Tom Brady.

KANSAS CITY (5) VS NEW ENGLAND (2)

This might be one of the best games of the year. The New England Patriots get their first crack in the playoffs at defending their title against a Chiefs team that is so well-rounded. Of course, the Chiefs don’t feature an explosive offense but because they are so meticulous in moving the ball down the field without turning the ball over, that makes them so dangerous. Alex Smith is playing well and the passing game with Travis Kelce is looking good. This is what will be the key for the Chiefs.

The defense will have a big task trying to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. The pass rush will be the key in flustering Brady. But if Brady has the time in the pocket, expect to see him dissect the Chiefs secondary. Will Rob Gronkowski go off for a big game? We will see.

Both teams will have to rely on a strong running game to keep the momentum of the game on their side. The team that can establish that early, and with solid field position through special teams, will have the edge in the game.

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My predictions for Saturday’s Wild Card round games

It’s time for the playoffs once again! Here are my quick predictions on today’s games.

The Panthers have never lost wearing white at home during the playoffs. They are wearing white today.

ARIZONA (5) VS CAROLINA (4)

This could be the biggest dud in the playoffs. The Panthers are not a winning team. But because their 7-8-1 record was good enough to win their division, they host the Cardinals. Arizona has played tremendously this year and their defense has been stellar. The concern, however, remains at quarterback. With Carson Palmer’s injury, the team did a rotation of quarterbacks for the remainder of the season. It has not been pretty but Ryan Lindley is the guy the team will trust to take them to the next round.

The Arizona defense has been phenomenal all year and that might be what gets them this win. Carolina still doesn’t have a great established offense and Cam Newton has been inconsistent many times this year. The young wide receiving group of Carolina is going to rely heavily on Greg Olsen to lead the way. If Newton and Olsen can get on the same page, then that opens up their running game. Jonathan Stewart has been averaging 5.3 yards per carry in the team’s final five games. He needs to continue that against the tough Cards defense to give them a chance.

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#BanTheWave

While Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell was being tended to on the field for an injury, the San Francisco 49ers fans decided to do the wave. Yes, while Campbell was being put on a stretcher, somehow, someway, the fans thought doing the wave was appropriate.

Shame on you.

The wave in itself is fun, but only in small doses. When they are done during the wrong time, it’s really annoying. You don’t do it when the home team is trying to score. And you obviously don’t do it when a player is hurt.

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Ryan Swope adds onto possible trend of concussion-like symptoms leading to retirement

Ryan Swope was forced to retire early following setbacks in his recovery from a concussion suffered during OTAs.

Cardinals sixth-round pick Ryan Swope’s NFL career may be over before it ever began. The wide receiver suffered four concussions during his college years at Texas A&M and the Cardinals were well aware of the risk in drafting him.

On Thursday, they had to relay the bad news to Swope, informing him that his post-concussion symptoms were a risk to his health. Swope decided to retire from football and re-evaluate his situation a year later.

This isn’t the first time that concussions have ended a player’s career prematurely. Earlier this offseason, Running back Jahvid Best has not formally retired, but his past concussion history has prevented him from playing since a concussion in 2011.

Then Vikings cornerback Asher Allen also decided to hang up his cleats early due to his concussion history.

It’s a trend now that is starting to become the norm in the NFL.

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Because AJ McCarron’s girlfriend has grabbed everyone’s attention, Darnell Dockett wants to holler at her

Aye @_katherinewebb hit me (240) 464-4150 when game over, lets go to wing stop then King of diamond,

I think (and hope) that this tweet from Darnell Dockett was a joke. After all, we all were introduced to Katherine Webb as AJ McCarron’s girlfriend. But it’s still funny that Darnell Dockett is trying to holler at her.

(Dockett supposedly deleted the tweet but it’s still on there. He then claimed it was supposed to be a direct message, even though it would be impossible to send one to her since she doesn’t follow him.)

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Which 49ers team are we going to see each week?

Alex Smith sets NFL record.

Now that I am no longer a full-time reporter covering the 49ers, it’s nice to watch the team again as a fan and really just enjoy the game without worrying about stats and quotes. But after watching last night’s game, I couldn’t help but start thinking as if I was on the beat again.

One thing that stood out to me was that this game was exactly what the 49ers wanted to do the remainder of the season. The 49ers defense set the tone by shutting down the Cardinals. On offense, the running game opened up the 49ers quick strike passing attack. The three touchdowns Alex Smith threw put the game away early and the Cardinals had no chance of coming back.

The ironic thing is that this is what Mike Singletary envisioned for the team when he was the head coach. The defense was strong enough to hold Larry Fitzgeraled to an unimpressive five-catch performance. The offense for the 49ers was fueled by the running game and the quick passes would also be in the mix. With that, the 49ers took the early lead, then pretty much sat on the ball for the second half. The Cardinals had no chance of winning.

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