If you asked the vast majority of NFL fans for their perfect AFC and NFC Championship Games then they would be exactly what we've got.
In the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks entertain the San Francisco 49ers in a burgeoning west coast rivalry that is fast becoming one of the best in the league. Both teams are coached by rivals from the college ranks. San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was a thorn in the side of his compatriot Pete Carroll, beating him twice in three meetings, including one when Carroll's USC were the #1 ranked. These two guys don't like each other and the players take their lead from their coaches.
Seattle got here by beating Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. The Seahawks seemed in cruise mode before slowing down late and having to hold on. The Saints should have had one final Hail Mary throw into the end zone but one of the most bizarre plays ended the game. After a reception Marques Colston tried to lateral the ball, only to throw it ten yards forward for an offensive penalty and the game was over. Seattle are considered the cream of the NFC and at home everyone thought they were unbeatable. However, Arizona won in Washington State late in the season and scoring 16 points against the Saints wasn't totally impressive.
The 49ers have had to play twice in the playoffs. Going on the road to beat the Green Bay Packers in temperatures no man should be playing sport in, before going to Carolina and exposing the Panthers for what they were, a good but not great team. The 49ers have that momentum word that I love and the hot QB.
This should be a terrific match, whoever wins will be worthy winners of the conference. Seattle are rightly the favourites with Betfair customers, currently trading at 1.584/7 with the 49ers at 2.6813/8. I think that is slightly too long for the 49ers but Seattle are rightly shorter than Evens.
If you think the burgeoning Seahawks/49ers rivalry is exciting then you'll love what it happening in the AFC. Two of the greatest Quarterbacks in the history of the game face off for the 15th time on Sunday when Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos entertain Tom Brady and his New England Patriots. I am so pumped for this game.
Both teams received a first round bye but New England faced the sexy upset pick in the Indianapolis Colts. Brady is one of the greatest QBs of all time, but saw his team run for six touchdowns and didn't throw for one which was telling. New England saw a weakness and exploited it. This is what Bill Belichick and the Patriots do. The Pats haven't had a significant running game for years so this stunned every observer.
The Broncos faced a divisional foe in the San Diego Chargers and handled them comfortably until late on. It was a nervy final few minutes but Manning completed a huge 3rd and 17 and then a 3rd and 6 to seal the win. It wasn't pretty but they got the job done.
These two faced each other earlier this year with Manning taking his team into the locker room at half-time 24-0 up, only to see Brady lead his team back to a 31-24 lead before Peyton tied it at the death. At the coin toss in overtime, the Patriots elected not to give Manning the ball but take the wind at their backs. No-one could quite believe it but the Patriots won it late.
This game is just mouth-watering but, folks, the layers have it wrong. Denver are the favourites, trading at 1.491/2 but New England are far too long at 3.02/1. I think the Pats will pull it off.
I hope I'm wrong as I'd love to see Peyton Manning back in the Super Bowl but you don't get rich by backing against Tom Brady, Bill Bellichick and the New England Patriots.