Conference championship picks

No Brees vs. Rodgers matchup. No Tebow. The NFL playoffs trudge on.

Those of us without teams left to root for are hoping San Francisco and Baltimore win to set up a meeting of their coaches — brothers Jim and John Harbaugh — in the Super Bowl.

I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. Home teams are cruising in this year’s playoffs (7-1) while Baltimore has struggled on the road this season (4-4), with losses to San Diego, Seattle, Jacksonville and Tennessee.

The Ravens’ only two touchdowns last week came off turnovers when Joe Flacco had great field position: an interception that started Baltimore 34 yards out and a fumbled punt that put Flacco on the Houston 2-yard line. Playing the Patriots in New England is a much more daunting task than playing against T.J. Yates at home.

New York-San Francisco should be a closer game. Alex Smith, least elite of all remaining quarterbacks, is coming off a game in which he rallied his team twice in the fourth quarter to take down the Drew Brees and the mighty Saints.

The Giants, meanwhile, are rolling. Eli Manning and his receiving corps needed a Week 17 win over Dallas to get into the playoffs but are peaking at the right time, similar to the Giants’ last Super Bowl run. I’m sure Eli wouldn’t mind using Peyton’s off-year to pass his older brother in the ring category.

Baltimore at New England (-7)
Patriots

Giants at San Francisco (-3)
Giants

Playoff picks: 5-3

Advertisements