NFL – AFC Championship Preview – Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball during the first quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (January 9, 2015, Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

The New England Patriots (13-4) reached the Conference Championship Game after a 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens in last week’s playoff game. The Patriots have won 4 of their last 5 games, including playoffs. Their only home loss this season came against the Buffalo Bills in week 17 in a more or less meaningless game.

The Indianapolis Colts (13-5) made it to the penultimate playoff round with two convincing wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and at the Denver Broncos. The Colts won 7 of their last 8 games, including playoffs and were 5-3 on the road in the regular season

Both teams met in week 11, with the New England Patriots winning 42-20 at Indianapolis.

Why the New England Patriots will win

Last week QB Tom Brady had to take matters into his own hands because of an early 14-point deficit. He will be tempted to test how healthy Indianapolis’ CB Greg Toler (groin) and CB Vontae Davis (knee) are but it’s the running game that will set up New England’s passing offense.

Indianapolis’ QB Andrew Luck will struggle unless he is extremely aware and accurate. New England’s pass defense will have the right answers.

New England’s run defense will be able to contain RB Dan “Boom” Herron and force Andrew Luck to win it for the Colts.

Essentially, New England’s receivers will be too much to handle for Indianapolis’ cornerbacks.

NFL – NFC Championship Preview – Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks in action against the Carolina Panthers during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (January 9, 2015, Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)

The Seattle Seahawks (13-4) advanced to the Conference Championship Game by beating the Carolina Panthers 31-17 last week. The reigning Super Bowl champions have won their last 7 games and have an 8-1 record at home this season, including playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers (13-4) defeated the Dallas Cowboys 26-21 last week to qualify for the NFC Final at Seattle. The Packers won 8 of their last 9 games, including playoffs, but had their struggles on the road, losing 4 games in the regular season.

Both teams met in the season opener, with the Seattle Seahawks winning 36-16 at CenturyLink Field.

Why the Seattle Seahawks will win

QB Russell Wilson will cause enough problems for the Packers secondary. He will punish them with passing plays if the Packers focus too much on stopping the run.

The Packers will be somewhat able to contain RB Marshawn Lynch and a scrambling Wilson but it won’t be enough to stop either of them from being efficient. Seattle’s offense will remain two-dimensional throughout.

Seattle’s defense, however, will be able to create constant problems for Green Bay’s offense, be it on the ground or in the passing game. All the more so since QB Aaron Rodgers (calf) and RB Eddie Lacy (knee) have minor injury issues.

The battle in the trenches will go Seattle’s way on both sides of the ball.

NFL Wildcard Playoffs Preview – Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys

running back DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball in the first quarter during a NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 28, 2014 in Landover. Maryland. (December 27, 2014, Source: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America)

The Dallas Cowboys (12-4) reached the playoffs by winning the NFC East and becoming the number 3 seed. They are on a four-game winning streak and won six of their last seven games. Strangely enough, they were only .500 at home this season.

The Detroit Lions (11-5) reached the playoffs as the number 6 seed. They were on a four-game winning streak before they had to surrender the NFC North crown to the Green Bay Packers in week 17. The Lions lost four of their eight road games this season.

Why the Dallas Cowboys will win

The Detroit Lions will not be able to stop RB DeMarco Murray and therefore enabling Dallas’ offense to become balanced and two-dimensional.

I also believe that the Dallas Cowboys will win the battle in the trenches, which will be essential for success. Effective run blocking will take the pressure of QB Tony Romo and keeps Detroit’s defense on its toes.

NFL Wildcard Playoffs Preview – Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts slips out of a tackle by Wallace Gilberry #95 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter on October 19, 2014 at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 19, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis defeated Cincinnati 27-0. (October 18, 2014, Source: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images North America)

The Indianapolis Colts (11-5) reached the playoffs as the AFC South champions and earned themselves a number 4 seed. They won five of their last six games and had a 6-2 record at home.

The Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) narrowly lost out on the AFC North championship and ended up the number 5 seed. The Bengals won five of their last seven games and recorded five wins on the road.

Both teams met in week 7, with the Indianapolis Colts shutting out the Bengals 27-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Why the Indianapolis Colts will win

Simply put, Cincinnati’s 22nd ranked defense will not be able to slow down Indianapolis’ 3rd ranked offense. MVP candidate QB Andrew Luck and his receivers will expose Cincinnati’s secondary.

Cincinnati’s WR A.J. Green has been ruled out with a concussion, which will further complicate matters for the Bengals. QB Andy Dalton, who has not been the most accurate passer this season (17 interceptions), will miss him dearly as go-to guy. Expect Indianapolis’ defensive backs to intercept Dalton once or twice. SS Mike Adams (5 interceptions) and CB Vontae Davis (4 interceptions) will fancy their chances.

NFL Poll - Should the San Francisco 49ers re-sign RB Frank Gore?

Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball ahead of defensive end Kendall Reyes #91 of the San Diego Chargers in the second half at Levi's Stadium on December 20, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (December 19, 2014, Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

Frank Gore is a living 49ers legend. He is in his 10th season with the franchise and will record his 8th 1,000+ rushing yards season if he runs for 38 yards against the Arizona Cardinals.

He holds the team record for rushing yards with 10,929 and scored the second most rushing touchdowns with 64 (Joe Perry has 68). Excluding kickers, he only trails WR Jerry Rice (1,130 points) and WR Terrell Owens (502 points) with a total of 458 points scored for the Niners.

At the age of 31 Frank Gore will find himself without a contract after this season. Age does not seem to slow him down, though, as he is averaging 4.2 yards per carry this year.

RB Carlos Hyde and RB Kendall Hunter have proven to be effective but can they replace Frank Gore?

The big question remains, should the 49ers re-sign Frank Gore or move on?