Conference Championships Free Football Picks
January 20, 2013 by luckylester
Well here we are, the conference championships. It’s going to be tough to one-up last weekend’s games. The 49ers took it to the Packers late, while the Falcons and Ravens escaped sure losses in dramatic fashion. Here’s how I see it.
This is one of those rare situations where I’m taking the Ravens to cover and still expect the Patriots to win. That’s a dangerous place to be as the winning team covers the spread a strong majority of the time.
The Ravens haven’t been able to stop the run really well all year, but have been better of late. That will be a big reason they stay in this game as the Patriots will almost surely try to find holes in that Ravens’ front seven.
New England allows big plays, and they take chances when running the clock out – that helps big dogs cover in big games. I see the Patriots doing a good job, like they have all year, of shutting down the run, but Ray Rice should cause plenty of havoc as a receiver from the backfield, and Torrey Smith has been lights out – he’ll need to have a big game to keep this one close.
As a coach, the Patriots are one of my favorite teams to watch – they are precise, disciplined, and everything they do is smart. But there’s a Ray Lewis factor in this game, right? If this is his last game it has to be a close one. Okay, there might not be much validity to that, but you know the Ravens will be playing all out in this one. A couple big plays ends up in a nice road dog cover.
It was hard for me to watch the Falcons throw a couple easy balls down the field and win that game last week over the Hawks, mainly because they did everything they could to lose that game. Up 20-0 and they needed 40 yards on two plays in 16 seconds just to get a deep field goal try to win it. They did, and here they are, but that kind of business doesn’t often work out.
The 49ers were in a pretty tight game with the Packers, and then Colin Kaepernick took the game over – running for big plays and ending the Packers’ run at a Championship. I do think this line is a little whack – as people see the final score, 45-31, and think the 49ers just dominated Green Bay. Hardly the case. Remember, the Packers tied the 49ers at 24 midway through the third quarter on a short field goal.
Even with that in mind, and knowing this line is too heavy on the Niners, I still think they are the better team. With a 4-point spread, and luck running out in Atlanta, it’s hard for me to imagine that the Falcons’ new found confidence will give them the edge, even at home, against a 49er team that is destined for a Super Bowl ticket.
It will be the running game of Frank Gore, more than Kap, in this one. Gore looks on pace to have his way with the Falcons’ front 7, a front that will almost surely be paying too much attention to the young quarterback from Nevada.