Here we go again — the best the NFL has to offer will put it all on the line next Sunday for a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, February 2, 2014 in MetLife Stadium, New York/New Jersey.
The Seattle Seahawks (14-3) will play the San Francisco 49ers (14-4) in Seattle in the rubber game for the NFC Championship. The New England Patriots (13-4) will meet the record-setting Denver Broncos (14-3) in the AFC title game.
It’s the third straight year the Patriots have reached the AFC title game. The Broncos scored 606 points during the regular season, the most ever in NFL history. The match-up at quarterback is legendary Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. The NFC quarterback dual features the new kids on the block, Russell Wilson vs. Colin Kaepernick.
It does not get much better than this for the NFL, to have four high-expectation franchises that all have been knocking at the door recently pursuing the NFL’s biggest prize. Last year the 49ers, the NFC defending champs, lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII. Two years ago, they lost the NFC title game at San Francisco to New York in overtime. The Giants then beat New England in the Super Bowl XLVI.
The Patriots lost the AFC title game last year to eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore. The Seahawks are 16-1 at home the last two years and feature one of the best defenses in football. They led the NFL with 39 takeaways, including 28 interceptions. The Broncos are the No.1 seed and are led by the remarkable Manning, who set NFL records for touchdown passes with 55 and for yards with 5,477.
All four of these teams are expected to be in these games with their sights on the biggest prize. First things first: Both AFC and NFC title games feature rematches. Seattle and San Francisco, both from the rugged NFC West, which featured three teams (Arizona) with double digit wins, split two meetings. Seattle won 29-3 back in September, and San Francisco won 19-17 in December.
The Broncos led 24-0 at New England in November in one of the most memorable games of the season. The Patriots rallied and won it 34-31 in overtime. So the fire will be burning again this Sunday in both title games.
Can you say rematch? I can’t wait.
The AFC teams feature high-octane offenses with feature Hall of Fame quarterbacks Brady and Manning. The NFC features two rugged defenses with young up-and-coming-quarterbacks Kaepernick and Wilson, who are first and second overall in NFL jerseys sold.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.
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