Rag2gar previews the Conference Championship games and he likes the Patriots to cover handicap against the Broncos and Carolina Panthers to win a high scoring game Arizona Cardinals.
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
The first of our Conference championship games takes place in Denver this week as the Broncos host the Patriots to decide this year's winner of the AFC. If the Broncos play like they did on offence in the divisional round last week, they will lose this one. Simple as. They were almost inept with Manning throwing incomplete pass after incomplete pass. You could even say it looked like they needed Brock Osweiler back. Peyton Manning may be one of the best quarterbacks of the modern era, but he certainly doesn't look it at the moment. We haven't seen much in the way of a deep pass this year, but even his short passes look hit and miss at the moment. It seems incredible to say it but if Denver are going to win this, they're going to have to win it with a subordinate quarterback.
On the other hand, Tom Brady seems to be only getting better with age. The Patriots bounced back to form last week with an impressive win over the in-form Kansas City Chiefs. Much will be made this week of Brady's lack of form in Denver and with only a 2-6 record perhaps the thin air does affect him. However this Broncos team looks so lacklustre at the minute, that I think the Patriots will still find a win even if they are affected by the awkward conditions.
It certainly doesn't seem like Manning is too "at home" with the conditions in Denver either and for me I think this is as much about the Broncos lack of quality, as it is about the Patriots obvious credentials. I think the Patriots will be well prepared for this and will have learned plenty from their regular season loss here. Expect them to win this comfortably and by at least a touchdown.
2 pts win New England Patriots -6.5 to beat Denver Broncos at 7/4 with Paddy Power
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
The second of our Conference deciding games sees the NFC title up for grabs, with the Arizona Cardinals making the long journey to Carolina to take on the Panthers. This should be a super game. I expect high scoring from the outset, as both of these teams boost excellent offences. They have been the two most improved franchises in the NFL this season and are probably the two best teams of the year.
Cam Newton has an arrogance about him this year which may help him in the biggest game of the season, especially in front of his home crowd. The Panthers have still only lost one game and can be nothing but high on confidence going into this one.
The Cardinals needed overtime to beat a resurgent Green Bay Packers last week and now take to the road in what will be yet another bruising contest. I think there will be lot of points in this one, but I think ultimately this is going to end up a home win. The Cardinals, though likeable, have a lot going against them, whilst the Panthers with confidence, results and home field advantage have a lot working in their favour. Home win.
4 pts win Carolina Panthers to beat Arizona Cardinals at 5/8 with Bet365, Betway and William Hill
2 pts win over 47.5 total points in the Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers game at 10/11 with Bet365, Betway and William Hill