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NFL Conference Championships: Open Thread

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It's that time of the week again - time to talk about the big playoff matchups, make predictions, and marvel at what good football teams like in our weekly playoff open thread. Obviously, we're down to just two games - the Pats and Chargers "clash" (more like appear on the same field) for the AFC crown, while in a far more interesting matchup, the Giants travel to Green Bay and try to make their tenth straight road victory their biggest one to date.

We don't cover these teams. Big Blue View, Acme Packing Company, and Pats Pulpit do (still looking for that elusive Chargers blogger). So we won't cover here. That can't stop us from predicting, however, so here we go:

San Diego Chargers (13-5) at New England Patriots (17-0)
- Oh, boy. When the AFC playoffs began, I took a look at seeds 2-5 and said to myself, "Self - there are only two teams who could potentially derail the Patriots' perfect season in Foxboro. Those teams are the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars". Now, today, I really, really hope I'm wrong. But I think I'm right - the Chargers validated the hiring of coach Norv Turner with a huge upset win in Indy last week, but to think that they can pull off an even more monumental road win is borderline crazy. If San Diego can get consistent pressure on Tom Brady and establish the run, they'll keep it close. Notice I said keep it close. The Pats are still going to win this thing. (Come on, Chargers...)

Final: Patriots 31, Chargers 16 Patriots 21, Chargers 12

New York Giants (12-6) at Green Bay Packers (14-3)
- Man, this is going to be a good game. The Packers are a force to be reckoned with at home, while the Giants are a force to be reckoned with on the road. The weather is going to be brutally cold (and those games are always fun to watch). The Giants are a team that is physical and delivers blows; the Packers are a team that can hit you in the mouth right back, while running by you. Key for the Giants: if you can't stop Packers RB Ryan Grant, you're toast. Key for the Packers: get Ryan Grant going and keep the Giants' offense off the field. The Packers get it done in front of the home crowd.

Final: Packers 20, Giants 13 Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT)