NFL

NFL Championship Sunday Score Predictions

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We’re down to the NFL’s “Final Four” and in spectacular fashion we have both No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in each conference.  It’s time to find out who wins each game from our Football Insiders experts.

New England Vs. Denver

Although I believe this is a very good match-up for the Denver Broncos, it’s also a huge game and the huge game dynamic comes in.  I think the Broncos defense will play a very good game.  With that said, I don’t believe the Denver offense can score enough points against the New England defense to make up for the shortcomings of Peyton Manning at this point in his career.  New England 27, Denver 13. 

-Charlie Bernstein

When you have Tom Brady, it is difficult to bet against you, but the Denver Broncos appear to have a decided advantage at every other position. Their dominant defense should be able to keep Brady and company relatively in check. It will be up to Peyton Manning and the offense to do enough against the injury riddled New England defense, which they should do. Broncos win in a tight, low scoring affair. Denver 17, New England 13. 
– John Owning
Denver arguably has the best defense in football, but Tom Brady has a knack for exposing weaknesses. As far as the other side goes, it’s going to be difficult for Denver to score. New England has the 9th ranked run defense and we all know Peyton Manning’s arm is completely shot at this stage of his career. Belichick and Brady will be heading to their 7th Super Bowl. Patriots win, 24-13.
-Mark Gunnels

Billed as Brady/Manning XVII, I don’t think this one lives up to the billing. The New England defense is going to feast on a limited Manning in what I think and hope is his last NFL game. With their offense scuffling Denver will have to get pressure on Brady and force several mistakes if they hope to stay in this game, something a very good Kansas City defense couldn’t do last week. I’m not sure the Broncos will have much luck either. Expect Brady to stick to the script, with lots of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, as the Pats book a return trip to the Super Bowl. Patriots 27, Broncos 14

-Devon Jeffreys

The Denver Broncos have a great defense, and match up well with the New England Patriots offense. Denver was able to beat New England 30-24 in Week 12 without Peyton Manning or DeMarcus Ware, so of course they should be able to win the AFC Championship Game with both of those great veterans on the field, right? Everything about this game tells me the Broncos should win, except the simple fact that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are on the other side of the ball. That’s it. The Patriots will win because it’s what the Patriots do. I don’t like it, and likely neither do you, but there’s just nothing we can do about it.  Pats 27, Broncos 20.

-Pat Donovan

Arizona Vs. Carolina

I can’t wait for this game!  The Panthers have been proving nearly everyone wrong all year long en route to a 16-1 record.  The Cards certainly look the part, as their offense is as explosive as any in the NFL.  For me this game comes down to match-ups, and as good as Josh Norman is, he can’t cover all of the Arizona weapons.  Therefore, Carson Palmer will lead a team to the Super Bowl for the first time.  Arizona 31, Carolina 27. 

-Charlie Bernstein

The most intriguing matchup of the weekend pits the best two teams in the NFL against each other. Both the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers have dominant defense with explosive offenses. This game will could come down to coaching, which gives Arizona the advantage. The Cardinals win a back and forth affair. Arizona 27, Carolina 24
– John Owning
For as good as Arizona’s offense is, I think they’re going to struggle running the football against Carolina’s front seven on the road, which will make them one-dimensional and that’ll play right into the Panthers hands. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen will make just enough plays to squeak out a victory. Panthers win, 20-17
– Mark Gunnels

I expect this game to play out similarly to the Carolina/Seattle game a week ago. The Panthers will come out hot and get on the board early and often. Their defense is going to cause some problems for the Cardinals offense, especially Carson Palmer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Panthers score first off a Palmer interception. Carolina will take a lead into half and again have to hold off a second half rally. The question is whether their struggles to finish games finally come back to bite them. I don’t think they will, at least not this time.  Carolina 34, Arizona 28

-Devon Jeffreys

All season long, it looked like the Arizona Cardinals would fare quite well if they matched up with the Carolina Panthers despite the fact that Carolina remained undefeated through most of it. However, a week ago Carolina looked so dominant before falling asleep against Seattle that many are rethinking their take on the NFC Championship game. I’m going to go ahead and be one of them, and predict a Panthers’ victory sending the Carolina to their second Super Bowl and setting up a rematch of their first big game against the New England Patriots.  Carolina 28, Arizona 24.

-Pat Donovan


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.