And then there were four.
There is usually not much left to say about the teams remaining. All the stats and information about the last four are known.
As for the playoff picks, Ms. Roberts and I are tied at 6-2. She went 3-1 and my perfect streak ended with the Cowboys loss followed by the Broncos losing to the Colts at home. There are three games remaining in the post-season. Two games this weekend and then the Super Bowl in Phoenix on 1 February.
Here are the picks for Conference Championship Sunday.
PACKERS AT SEAHAWKS, 1/18 FOX 1PM (MT)
Last weekend the Seahawks took care of the Panthers and looked like the defending Super Bowl champions that they are.
Seattle made big plays such as the 63 yard catch and run from quarterback Russell Wilson to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse that broke a 7-7 game and put the Seahawks out in front where they remained for the remainder of the game. Panthers kicker Graham Gano kicked a 35 yard field goal that involved two previous attempts by safety Kam Chancellor to block the kick that was negated by a penalties.
Seattle's 17 point fourth quarter put the game out of reach. Chancellor again made his name known, this time intercepting quarterback Cam Newton and returning the ball 90 yards to send the Seahawks to their second consecutive NFC Championship Game. Carolina added a late touchdown to make the score seem somewhat respectable.
On Sunday the Cowboys gave it their best shot against Green Bay. Like the Lions game, the game came down to one key play.
Dez Bryant's catch/non-catch has been analyzed more that the Zapruder film and from all possible angles.
Dallas was running the ball well against the Packers that they should have ran the ball in that situtation. After the turnover on downs, the Dallas defense should have stopped Green Bay's passing offense which they had trouble the entire day. Randall Cobb caught a pass on third down that allowed the Packers to run out the clock and secure the victory.
As I said last week, "shouldhave-couldhave-wouldhave" don't win playoff games. Oh well. Season over. That's the nature of the playoffs. 12 teams enter, only one will have their season end on a high note.
Dallas exceeded my expectations for the season. Hopefully the team can improve their defensive unit and re-sign key players.
As for the NFC Championship, this is a rematch from Week 1 when the Seahawks opened the season revealing their Super Bowl XLVIII banner and beat the Packers 36-16 in the 2014 season opener. Wilson passed for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns and also rushed for 29 yards. Running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide receiver Percy Harvin made his presence known with 59 yards receiving and 41 yards rushing.
Harvin is no longer with the team. During the season he was traded to the Jets, but he will still receive a portion of the Seahawks playoff bonus.
Rodgers certainly solidified his MVP candidacy with the win over Dallas last Sunday. The calf injury will definitely impact his ability to move around effectively. Taking on Seattle's Legion Of Boom secondary is a difficult task and over the past three seasons only two teams have beaten the Seahawks in Seattle: Arizona last year and Dallas this season.
I had Seattle repeating at the start of the season. And I had Seattle repeating in my playoff preview. And in this game…
SEAHAWKS 28, PACKERS 16
COLTS AT PATRIOTS, 1/18 CBS 4:30 PM (MT)
In last week's divisional round matchup against the Ravens, the Patriots became the first team to comeback from two 14-point deficits in the same playoff game. New England trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and then trailed 28-14 in the third.
For the second time in three seasons, Denver was one-and-done in the divisional round. The Broncos appear to be blowing it all up. Coach John Fox was released and is taking over the head coaching job in Chicago. The Peyton Manning Retirement Watch is officially underway.
As for the victors, the Colts advance to their first AFC Championship Game since the 2009 season when they defeated the Jets en route to their appearance in Super Bowl XLIV. Their two previous AFC Championship Games were the 2006 and 2003 editions against the Patriots. The 2003 game is remembered for the Patriots secondary being overly aggressive on their coverage of Colts receivers while the 2006 game is remembered for the Colts trailing 21-6 half only to come back and win 38-34 en route to their Super Bowl XLI win over Chicago.
The Patriots are 10 years removed since their last Super Bowl win. Since then they have made two other Super Bowl appearances each of them losses to the Giants, one was in Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix where this season's game is being played and the other was in Super Bowl XLVI was in the Colts' home stadium.
This is the Patriots fourth consecutive AFC Title appearance. Their previous appearances include last season's lost at Denver and back-to-back games hosting the Ravens where the teams split those games.
Do the Colts have enough to slay another legend in Tom Brady? The Patriots quarterback started his playoff career winning his first 9 starts along with 3 Super Bowls. From 2005 onward, the Patriots are 10-8 with those two Super Bowl losses.
About the Patriots playoff appearances from 2001 onward, all of them featured at least one rematch from the regular season. The first was in Super Bowl XXXVI. In the regular season New England lost at home to the Rams and it was their last lost of the season. This is the 18th time New England has played a team they have faced in the regular season in the playoffs and in those games New England is 9-8. Since their last Super Bowl win in February 2005, that record is 4-8.
The Patriots have shown recent dominance over the Colts. Since Andrew Luck was drafted to the Colts in 2012, the Patriots have beaten the Colts by a combined score of 144-66. This is part of the current five game winning streak that the Patriots have over the Colts. The last time the Colts beat the Patriots was in 2009 in Indianapolis. The last time the Colts went into Foxboro and came away with a victory was in 2006 which resulted in that season's AFC Championship Game being played in Indianapolis and the Colts winning that game. Both of those instances resulted in a season that ended with the Colts playing in the Super Bowl.
Well… my Super Bowl pick at the start of the 2014 season was Seahawks-Colts. I am going with the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game and for the AFC Championship Game my pick is…
COLTS 31, PATRIOTS 27