SEA: 23

SF: 22

Kaepernick is not quite as good as Wilson.

  NE: 29

                DEN: 26 (O.T.)

…however, ask me in another half hour, and I might say “Denver by 14” instead.  I went back and forth trying to figure this game out.  But it’s one of the most difficult matchups I can remember.

On the one hand, Denver is exactly the kind of powerful but wildly unbalanced offense that almost always collapses in the playoffs.  It’s not that Manning “chokes” as people always say; it’s just that his teams are usually one-dimensional passing attacks, and when they meet someone who can stop that, they lose.

New England, meanwhile, seems to have finally done what I’ve been saying they should do these past few seasons, and developed a running game.  This is good–for a time, they were the one-dimensional passing team that was always collapsing in the postseason.

The only difficulty is that almost all of their first-stringers on defense, and their top receiving weapon, are injured.  Soon or later, this seems bound to catch up to them.  Thanks to the salary cap, teams just can’t build up depth.  But then again, no one would’ve said they could get even this far with so many injuries, and yet here they are.  So why not take down one of the best offenses in NFL history while they’re at it?

Then, of course, there is the meeting earlier in the season between the two teams. Normally, that would give some indication of what to expect.  But somehow, I doubt New England will spot Denver a 24-point lead again by fumbling three times.  But if they do, I don’t think their offense, sans Gronkowski, can come back.

It could be a shootout.  It could be a defensive struggle.  It could be a blowout by either side.  All I know is it figures to be pretty entertaining.