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rosalie52
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I needed to post Indianapolis - New England.

Seattle shuts down Saints running for most of the game and take a 23-15 over New Orleans. A key fumble in Saints territory proved defensive as Seattle capitalized on it for a first half touchdown. The Saints failure to stop Seattle's final drive also proved decisive.

Inability to stop New England's running game and three interceptions by Andrew Luck proved decisive in a 43-22 win over Indianapolis. The Patriots scored all six of their touchdowns on the ground, the first such occurrence since 1993. Luck failed to look off his intended receiver on his first interception and the Patriots took advantage of it to score the game's first touchdown. Luck threw into coverage on another and the other came off of a deflection.

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New Orleans also failed to contain Marshawn Lynch who gained 140 yards on 28 carries. Two missed field goals by Shayne Graham, both into the wind and wide left also proved decisive. Moments after the Saints scored, Marques Colston, who had recovered the onside kick, displayed one of worst lapses of concentration when he failed to step out of bounds to give the Saints one more play and instead tried to throw across the field to Darren Sproles.

The illegal forward pass ran off the final ten seconds of the game.

Andrew Luck actually threw four interceptions, one of them after the Colts had scored a safety. The eight total turnovers were uncharacteristic for a team that finished with a league best 14 giveaways.

San Francisco will have to shore up its front line against a Carolina team which recorded a league high 60 sacks during the season.

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Failure to get key stops proved to be San Diego's undoing in a 24-17 loss to Denver. Despite that, the Chargers nearly pulled off a fourth quarter comeback when Phillip Rivers exploited an injury to cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. After pulling to within 24-14, San Diego executed an onsides kick and converted into a field goal. There are those who think San Diego should have tried another onsides kick, but a failure to secure the boundary on 3 and 17 from the Denver 20 gave Denver a first down and allowed the Broncos to eventually run out the clock.

Missed opportunities prove decisive in a 23-10 by San Francisco over Carolina. The 49ers stopped Cam Newton on a fourth down sneak on fourth and goal from the one. Later, the Panthers were stopped twice on the one yard line and were forced to settle for a field goal. Another critical missed opportunity came in the third quarter after Carolina fell behind 20-10. They held the ball eight minutes, but failed to produce any points when Newton was sacked on consecutive plays and were forced to punt. Newton was sacked five times and threw two interceptions when he threw behind an intended receiver and in front of another.

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Today's playoff games: AFC Championship New England - Denver 3:00 P.M. The key is who can establish a run game and keep the other team on the sidelines. Also both secondaries are suspect as they are prone to giving up big plays.

NFC Championship San Francisco - Seattle 6:30 P.M. Both teams are ranked in the top five in defense and this is the ninth time two teams ranked in the top three in scoring defense since 1980 have met for the NFC title. The key is can Kaepernck get his passing game going against a Seattle team that ranked first in total passing yards per game allowed and yards per attempt. It will be even more important for the 49ers to take care of the ball as Seattle also ranked first in turnover margin.

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Denver renders New England one dimensional, shutting down the run game, and Peyton Manning used underneath pass routes for 400 yards against a suspect defense in a 26-16 over the Patriots.

Big plays and turnovers prove the difference in a 23-17 Seattle win over San Francisco. Seattle came dangerously close to being done in by failure to finish off drives after big plays, not getting turnovers when the opportunities were there, a missed opportunity after a 49er turnvoer, and Russell Wilson being sacked four times.

Seattle scored its first touchdown on a 40 yard run by Marshawn Lynch and took its first lead at 20-17 on a perfectly thrown ball on four and seventh after nixing a 53 yard field goal try. Colin Kaepernick would also throw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, both on poor decisions. The first was when a wideout was read by the cornerback and the second sealed Seattle's victory when Kaepernick threw into double coverage in the endzone.

The Super Bowl matchup marks the first time since 2002 that the top seeds from each conference had reached the Super Bowl.

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New England also missed some opportunities as tom Brady missed some open receivers, one of which should have resulted in a touchdown.

Colin Kaepernick got away with some errant throws until the fourth quarter. His touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, went through the hands of Seattle's All-Pro safety and should have been intercepted. His final pass needed to be thrown to the pylon where either Crabrtee gets or no one does.

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At this point, Denver is a 1.5 point favorite. There are concerns Russell Wilson doesn't have the skills to exploit a Denver pass defense that was ranked 27th in the league. Seattle's rushing offense was 26th which would be another problem as Denver and Seattle were tied for 7th against the run.

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Denver Quarterback Peyton Manning will attempt to become the first quarterback to win the Super Bowl with two different teams having won with Indianapolis in 2007 and losing in 2010. He has joined Craig Morton and Kurt Warner as the only ones to lead two clubs to the Super Bowl. Manning is also the only active player on either roster to have won a Super Bowl previously and can become only the 15th starting player to win a title with two different teams, according to STATS.

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Atlanta has given contract extensions to head coach Mike Smith, general manager Thomas Dimitroff, and CEO Rich McKay. McKay's extension was for four years while Smith and Dimitroff were extended for only one year putting the latter two under pressure to turn around a franchise that nosedived to a 4-12 record last season and is only 1-4 in the post season under Smith.

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During the regular season, Seattle also had the second best red zone defense, so it's obvious Denver will need to make the most of its own red zone chances. Seattle's third down conversion rate was 37.3% ranking them 17th, and were 13th in red zone touchdown conversion rate at 52.23%. Its defense was 10th in third downs allowed. A major weakness was it was also the most penalized team in the league with 128 excepted penalties for 1183 yards, something Peyton Manning could easily exploit with his quick counts as Seattle right tackle Breno Giacomin was flagged for 4 false start penalties and left tackle Russell Okung was called for 4 holding penalties during the season. The Seahawks also tied for a league high with 13 pass interference penalties. Richard Sherman was called for five of those, another issue Manning could exploit and most likely will.

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