That’s right, we’re this far into the NFL season. This is Week 2 of the postseason, and so far, the remaining teams are the San Francisco 49ers, the Indiana Colts, the New England Patriots, the New Orleans Saints, the San Diego Chargers, the Carolina Panthers, the Seattle Seahawks, and of course, the Denver Broncos. On Sunday, the 49ers will face the Panthers, and the Chargers face the Broncos.
What are your predictions?
At the beginning of the season, you might believe that the Niners were going to play the Panthers at this stage in the season. You wouldn’t think, however, that the Chargers would still be alive at this point. In fact, they’re the NFL’s hottest team, and they have been that way since their win against the New York Giants on December 8th. Since then, they haven’t lost a single game.
They’ve beaten the Broncos once this season in Denver, can they do it again?
I’m all for the underdog, and personally, I would love for the Chargers to take down the Super Bowl favorites, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. This is going to be a close game, simply because it is a playoff game, but I think when it’ll all come down to the experience and veteran leadership of Peyton Manning, possibly the best quarterback of all-time.
Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers is having himself quite a fantastic season, but he may struggle to keep up with the fast pace of a healthy Manning when the Broncos are at home. In Denver, when the Chargers were victorious earlier this season, Manning was struggling with an ankle injury and had only 289 yards. I say “only” because he usually stuffs the stat sheet with over 400.
The Broncos’ passing game is virtually unstoppable, and I like their chances with a healthy Manning. Also, you may want to consider the fact that the Chargers are ranked 29th when it comes to opponents’ passing yards. The Broncos are ranked No. 1 in passing yards. That’s a bit of a mismatch.
This AFC clash won’t be the best game on this Sunday afternoon. The best one will be in Carolina, and features the San Francisco 49ers vs the Carolina Panthers. This will be one of the best defensive games of the year, making for a non-exciting one, but exciting at the same time, granted it is a playoff game. When the Niners played the Panthers earlier this season, they lost 10-9. Neither team had themselves any kind of night.
You cannot predict an ending to a game simply based on that score. What many fail to realize is that Colin Kaepernick has rediscovered his running game. Against Green Bay he rushed for 98 yards, and proved his ability to close games out in clutch situations. He also has a healthy Michael Crabtree, an up-and-coming receiver who is on the verge of stardom. Crabtree received 125 yards from Kaepernick.
With this new offensive look, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Niners will be able to score more than 9 points. There defense is healthier than it was, and their offense is healthier than it was. For the Panthers, they have had a consistently good defense, but with no extra firepower added to the offensive end, the Niners are going to claim the victory. It’ll be slim, again, but the Niners will put it out.