Welcome to the Conference Championship edition of the Brew Crew Corner. Two games this week will decide who will go to the Super Bowl. Last weekend it was turnovers that sunk three teams while tight ends decided some other games. The Houston Texans threw three interceptions and a lost a fumble, the New Orleans Saints threw two interceptions and lost three fumbles, while the Green Bay Packers had one interception and lost three fumbles in their loss. Not taking care of the football gave the other teams additional opportunities, and it cost these three teams dearly.
I've never seen a year where we've had so many stud tight ends playing in the playoffs, and last weekend we saw four tight ends dominate in games. For the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez destroyed the Denver Broncos. Gronkowski had 145 yards and three touchdowns while Hernandez had four receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown, and he added five carries for 55 yards. In San Francisco, Vernon Davis had seven catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns as he out performed Jimmy Graham, who had five receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Tight ends will definitely be a factor in the Conference Championship games. Look for Jake Ballard and even Dennis Pitta to have key grabs this weekend.
Last week we analyzed the value of the running backs for 2011. This week we will look at the wide receivers for this season.
Top 20 Wide Receiver Good Values
Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Laurent Robinson, Dallas
Jabar Gaffney, Washington
Nate Washington, Tenessee
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland
David Nelson, Buffalo
Doug Baldwin, Seattle
Early Doucet, Arizona
Torrey Smith, Baltimore
Damian Williams, Tenessee
Jason Avant, Philadelphia
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay
Brandon LaFell, Carolina
Preston Parker, Preston Tampa Bay
Demaryius Thomas, Denver
Titus Young, Detroit
Lavelle Hawkins, Tenessee
Eric Decker, Denver
Legeud Naanee, Carolina
Steve Smith, Carolina
Top 20 Wide Receiver Poor Values
Terrell Owens, Free Agent
Randy Moss, Free Agent
Lee Evans, Baltimore
Danny Amendola, St. Louis
Jordan Shipley, Cincinnati
Chad Ochocinco, New England
Mark Clayton, St. Louis
Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville
Braylon Edwards, Free Agent
Bernard Berrian, Free Agent
Steve Smith, Philadelphia
Andre Johnson, Houston
Kenny Britt, Tennessee
Mike Williams, Seattle
Jacoby Ford, Oakland
Donnie Avery, Tennessee
Eddie Royal, Denver
Derrick Mason, Free Agent
Sidney Rice, Seattle
Mike Thomas, Jacksonville
AFC Conference Championship Game:
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots -- Sunday, Jan. 22, 3 p.m.
Ravens Pass Offense: 19th, Run Offense: 10th
Ravens Pass Defense: 4th, Run Defense: 2nd
Patriots Pass Offense: 2nd, Run Offense: 20th
Patriots Pass Defense: 31st, Run Defense: 17th
These teams are no stranger to one another but Tom Brady is 4-1 against Baltimore. Can the Ravens' defense hold Brady in check? More importantly, can the Ravens defend the Patriots' tight ends? The Patriots will look to stop Ray Rice and then force Joe Flacco to make a mistake. Flacco will need to manage the game and let the defense and run game carry the team. In the end, the fire power the Patriots have will give them an edge.
Prediction: New England 24, Baltimore 20
NFC Conference Championship Game:
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers -- Sunday, Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m.
Giants Pass Offense: 5th, Run Offense: 32nd
Giants Pass Defense: 29th, Run Defense: 19th
49ers Pass Offense: 29th, Pass Offense: 8th
49ers Pass Defense: 16th, Pass Defense: 1st
First Meeting: 49ers defeated the Giants, 27-20, on Nov. 13.
Their first meeting went down to the wire and so will this game. Two good defensive teams that matchup the same on offense. The Giants have the edge in passing and they will use that to get ahead. This game will come down to who turns the ball over more. The Giants are 4-0 in Conference Championship games.
Prediction: Giants 21, 49ers 17
Conference Championships: Two games lead up to the Super Bowl. I think these matchups provide Super Bowl caliber games to watch.
Good luck to your team. Follow @BrewCrewCorner