By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)
It should come to no surprise that when you have an elite quarterback under center, a team is more than likely to have a successful season.
Andrew Luck has reached the playoffs in the his first two seasons in the NFL and reached the AFC Championship game in this third. Tom Brady is a three-time Super Bowl Champion and searching for his elusive fourth ring.
Russell Wilson is looking to lead his Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and wins. The Seattle Seahawks became the first defending Super Bowl champions since 2005 to win a playoff game after beating the Dallas Cowboys last week in the now infamous “was it a catch” game.
If Seattle manages to knockoff the ailing Aaron Rodgers at home, they’ll be one win away from becoming the first team to repeat a champions since New England in the 2003-04 seasons.
Speaking of Rodgers, this is his first Super Bowl appearance since his Packers last beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 season.
Analysis: Colts @ Patriots
Andrew Luck has been successful against all other teams in the NFL throughout his career, but the Patriots continue to be a thorn in his side. New England defeated the Colts in a rout last season 43-22 in the divisional round of the playoffs. Despite the fact that Luck had a poor performance throwing four interceptions. Luck and the Colts didn’t fare any better in a Week 11 Sunday night rematch when the Patriots went into Indianapolis and blew out the Colts 42-20.
Luck has thrown six touchdown passes and eight interceptions in his career versus the Patriots, including the playoffs. Against all other teams in that time, he’s thrown twice as many touchdowns as interceptions. Luck has a Total QBR of 51.1 versus New England in his career. His QBR is 64.8 against all other teams, according to Elias Sports.
But this game might be out of Luck’s hand as the Patriots running game has been successful against Indy in the past. Over the past two years, New England have called runs on 61.2 percent of their plays versus Indianapolis compared to 39.5 percent against the rest of the NFL. Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns in the Patriots’ Week 11 rout.
Luck is a superstar quarterback. He is the future of the NFL. He is already is consensus top-5 quarterback in his third season in the league. He had a phenomenal season leading the NFL with 40 touchdown passes and was fourth in passing yards with 4,761, but the young quarterback time is not now.
My heart wants to pick Luck and the Colts, but my mind is saying Brady and the Patriots.
New England 37-31.
Analysis: Packers @ Seahawks
It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
The 2014 season kicked off with the Packers visiting the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The “12th man” was roaring after the Super Bowl banner was hung over the field. As a result, Seattle steamrolled over Green Bay 36-16 in a game where Rodgers was heavily scrutinized for not throwing a single pass in the direction of All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
This will be just the second time that a Conference Championship game will feature the NFL’s top scoring offense (Packers, 30.4) versus the top scoring defense (Seahawks 15.9).
The first time this happened was last’s year Super Bowl when the Seahawks top defense throttled the Denver Broncos’ top offense in a 43-8 stomping.
Defense wins champions. That has been the staple of the NFL since this beautiful sport was first created. According to Elias Sports, Rodgers was blitzed on a season-low 8.3 percent of his dropbacks against the Seahawks in Week 1. Including the playoffs, Seattle has only sent a blitz on 26.5 percent of opponents’ dropbacks this season, which is 22nd in the league.
But when the Seahawks do blitz, they’re only allowing a Total QBR of 23.3, the second lowest in the NFL. Alarming news for Rodgers who is on record saying his partially torn calf feels worse after a narrow victory over the Cowboys. His ability to extend plays with his legs will be compromised against the Seahawks.
The maturation process of Russell Wilson has also given Seattle a legit threat at the quarterback position. Last season I felt the Seahawks won in spite of Wilson, but several game have been won this year because of Wilson.
Wilson will never out duel Rodgers, but he doesn’t have to with an all-time great defense behind him.
Eddie P’s Championship Predictions: Packers @ Seahawks
Russell Wilson is a dangerous quarterback. He’s smart, makes tough throws, and is an even bigger threat on the ground.
Too bad Seattle doesn’t have a passing game, or else they’d be a complete team.
In my opinion, Green Bay is more well rounded. The Packers have a top 10 passing offense. Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback. The Packers’ defense is a scary underrated unit. The running game, behind Eddie Lacy is also a threat.
I think Green Bay will win this one out. Just a hunch. Lets see if my gut feeling is right, and isn’t just a sign that I’m hungry.
Colts @ Patriots
My first gut instinct was to go with the change of the guard. Andrew Luck ushering in the era of the new great quarterbacks.
Then, I heard both of the Indianapolis Colts’ starting cornerbacks, Vontae Davis and Greg Toler, would both be list as questionable going into Sunday. That changes everything.
Tom Brady is still a game-changing QB. If the secondary is weak, Brady will have a field day.