It’s prediction time again for “Playbook” analysts Brian Baldinger, Joe Theismann and Brian Billick.
Although the Jets have won playoff road games against Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks, the crew doesn’t see it happening a third time against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in Pittsburgh. All three are taking the Steelers at home.
The crew is split on the Bears/Packers, who split their two meetings this season. Baldinger, who is alone on taking the home Bears, sees how they can have success against the explosive Packers.
“The Bears are set up to contain Aaron Rodgers,” Baldinger said. “They really don’t have to do a lot. They win with their front four. Speed at linebacker to take care of underneath (coverage) and chase Rodgers when he does break the pocket. The safeties generally play deep to take away the deep throws. The cornerbacks really redirect and re-route the receivers. That’s what they did in the first game, they limited the big plays and tackled very well. Really, I give the Packers credit because they stayed pretty patient (in the second) game even though they turned it over a couple of times. The defense kept it close and they won it in the fourth quarter.
“That’s the challenge, but I believe the Bears think that their defense is in place to be able to slow this offense down.”
Here are the picks for the conference championship games:
Packers at Bears
Jets at Steelers