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2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC and NFC Championship Weekend Review

After an exciting championship weekend in the NFL, the Super Bowl matchup is now set as the San Francisco 49ers will face the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans on Sunday, February 3rd, 2013. Let’s take a look and see how each team made it to the big game.

You can always bet the spread, total and moneyline, as well as a myriad of prop bets throughout the game.

NFC Championship Game

The Atlanta Falcons raced out to another big lead in the first half this week just like they did in the divisional round against the Seattle Seahawks. Behind the solid play of quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, the Falcons built a 17 point first half lead. However, San Francisco made some excellent halftime adjustments and quickly got back into the game early in the second half. Once the 49ers were able to force a couple of turnovers and convert those turnovers into points, the Atlanta Falcons appeared to play a bit more passive, possibly being worried about blowing another large lead.

The 49ers eventually went ahead with 8:23 to play in the fourth quarter thanks to a Frank Gore nine yard touchdown run. With plenty of time left on the clock, the Falcons tried to march down the field for the game winning touchdown but eventually came up shot when they could not convert on fourth and four on the San Francisco 10 yard line.

AFC Championship Game

The AFC Championship game was a rematch from a year ago and did not disappoint NFL fans. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots came out firing on offense and built 13-7 halftime lead over the Baltimore Ravens. After scoring 10 points in the second quarter, Patriots fans had to be thinking that their team had finally figured a way to move the ball against the Ravens and that they would cruise in the second half. However, that was not the case the Baltimore Ravens put the clamps down on the Patriots and did not allow a single point in the second half while scoring 21 points of their own.

The turning point in the game came early in the fourth quarter when Bernard Pollard laid a huge hit on running back Stevan Ridley who then fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Baltimore. The Ravens had just taken a 21-13 lead two minutes earlier and needed to come up with a big stop, which they did when they recovered the fumble. Four plays after the turnover Joe Flacco hit Anquain Bolden for another touchdown and the Ravens went up 28-13 and appeared to have the game in hand.

With two hard hitting defenses winning their respective conference’s championship game, the Super Bowl promises to be another exciting game in what has been an overall highly entertaining NFL playoffs.

NY Giants Battle Favorite NE Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI

The New York Giants and the New England Patriots will pick up where they left off in 2008, playing for NFL supremacy, playing Sunday, Feb 5th in Indianapolis, kickoff at 6:30pm ET.

The Giants won that first Super Bowl encounter with New England and the Patriots are looking for revenge four years later. Tom Brady has lost in the Super Bowl only once and this is the game he wants to prove that he and Bill Belichik are the greatest head coach/quarterback combination of all time.

The Patriots have opened as a 3-point favorite and the line has moved up and down several times since it was posted. The line currently sits at 3.5 and the money is tipping in favor of the Patriots at a 51% clip. Brady and the Patriots can dominate the game if Rob Gronkowski turns up healthy and stays healthy throughout the game.

The Moneyline is a small number for bettors looking for an outright Giants win. The Giants are +145 on the Moneyline and the public is eating it up. The bettors are hammering the Moneyline with 75% of the action coming down on the Giants. The Over/Under on the game is settled at 54 after opening at 56 with 53% of the public hitting the Under.

The New England Patriots enter the game 10-8 Against the Spread for the season and Belichik has never been a coach to concern himself with the point spread or Superbowl betting numbers. The Patriots failed to cover their first playoff game before blowing out an inferior Denver Broncos team.

The New York Giants are 11-7-1 Against the Spread and they have a history of playing better against a favorite. This is the reason the public initially jumped on the Giants but once Gronkowski is announced as a starter, the betting patterns will trend towards the Patriots.

Super Bowl XLV injury update: Pittsburgh Steelers & Green Bay Packers

Any NFL Betting fan knows that one of the biggest contributing factors to a team’s performance is health – specifically which players are out of the lineup with injuries, and which players are playing hurt.

And at no time, in no game, are injuries a bigger factor than the Super Bowl.

Heading into Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, both the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers have some injury concerns.

For the Packers, wide receiver Donald Driver is nursing a quadriceps injury, but the team said Friday he will play in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday against the Steelers.

Driver has been battling the injury all week. He was put on the Packers’ injury report Thursday, leading to speculation he wouldn’t play in Dallas. But Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Friday that while Driver was being held out of Friday’s practice as a precaution, he expects the veteran receiver to play Sunday.

For the Steelers, there has been a lot of speculation about starting center Maurkice Pouncey’s availability for the Super Bowl.

Pouncey suffered a high left ankle sprain in the Steelers’ 24-19 win over the New York Jets in the AFC championship, and has been seen on crutches and wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Friday he expects Pouncey back at center on Sunday. Pouncey’s ankle sprain is a Grade II+, in other words, almost a complete tear of at least one of the major ligaments in the ankle. If this was a regular season game and not Super Sunday, there’s little doubt he would be out.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks Wildcard Weekend Game

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks Wildcard Weekend Game: The Seattle Seahawks play host to this weekend’s initial Wild Card Weekend NFL playoff game with the ugly tag of having the worst record ever, as it hosts the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

In most people’s eyes, this game should just be mailed in, and the bookmakers agree, making the Drew Brees-led Saints an 11-point road favorite, which is simply unheard of in the bookmaking realm. Why is this?

One of the biggest reasons is the Quarterback position, as no one seems to know which QB is going to start. Is it the incumbent started, Matt Hasselbeck, or is it going to be Charlie Whitehurst, who guided the Seahawks to last weekend’s big win over the visiting St. Louis Rams to capture the NFC West title. If Hasselbeck is healthy, it gives Seattle a big boost, but if the Hawks have to go with Whitehurst, the team’s prospects look bleak.

We are also talking about the defending Super Bowl champs, who have Drew Brees leading the way at QB. However, the Saints have lost two of its last three games. Also, the Seahawks were 5-3 at home this year, and Qwest Field remains one of the toughest places for a visiting team to play. Also, the Saints have never won a road playoff game. Is this the year it begins?