First, before I make my cursory attempt to talk about the games today, head over to Niners Nation for a few minutes and read this fantastic statistical preview for the two championship games.
On to the games...
NFC Championship: Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Team Stats - Game Averages
|Off||26.0||350.5 (9th)||244.4 (6th)||106.1 (22nd)|
|Def||18.1||274.3 (3rd)||182.1 (3rd)||92.3 (4th)|
Arizona Cardinals Team Stats - Game Averages
|Off||26.7||365.8 (4th)||292.1 (2nd)||73.6 (32nd)|
|Def||26.6||331.5 (19th)||221.3 (22nd)||110.3 (16th)|
When: 2 PM Central time
AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens Team Stats - Game Averages
|Off||22.6||324.0 (18th)||175.5 (28th)||148.5 (4th)|
|Def||14.4||261.1 (2nd)||179.7 (2nd)||81.4 (3rd)|
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Stats - Game Averages
|Off||21.7||311.9 (22nd)||206.3 (17th)||105.6 (23rd)|
|Def||13.9||223.2 (1st)||147.7 (1st)||75.5 (2nd)|
When: 5:30 PM Central time
Of the three bird themed teams, I think the Eagles have the best chance to knock off the Cardinals. The Eagles will be by far the toughest defense the Cardinals have faced in the playoffs. I'm picking the Steelers over the Ravens but that's far from any sure feeling. Battles between two incredibly good defensive teams often come down to 2 or 3 plays that no one can predict.
You know...no one knows about Arizona really. They could be in the midst of a fantastic four game run that takes them all the way to the Super Bowl. Or they could be at the end of a two game run that sends them back home today. As much as I'd love to see the Cardinals winning, I can't shake the feeling that Kurt Warner is prone to a 3 INT game at any time. That game is today.
And there' s my stupidly simple, unoriginal predictions for today.
What are yours?
P.S. For the newbies, an open thread is where we talk about whatever's going on in the NFL/sports world. Today's will of course be centered around the Championship games but I want to let you know that the open thread is the casual, laid back post. It's the purest form of the "online bar" we've tried to create here, where you can come in, pull up a seat, see who all is around and talk about football among friends.