NFL Conference Championship Matchups Provide Intrigue

The Super Bowl XXVIII matchups for the big game on February 2 will be determined this weekend by the outcomes of Sunday’s AFC and NFC conference championship games. The Super Bowl will definitely feature a quarterback duel between an AFC representative in the classic mold of an old-style drop back pocket passer against an NFC representative with a 21st Century West Coast mobile run and shoot style athlete. And, for what it’s worth, the AFC QB will be white and the NFC QB black, the best of the past versus the best of the future.

Two of the most promising young quarterbacks the league has seen in a long time, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, both backed by ferocious defenses and coaches that have a long rivalry will meet in Seattle. Two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, the Broncos’  Peyton Manning and the Patriots’ Tom Brady, each starving for another title chance, will be meeting in Denver for the fourth time in the playoffs.

In Seattle, the Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers in a grudge match between two of the best teams in 2012 and 2013 led by eager young quarterbacks with similar styles for the NFC championship. Seattle will be led by Russell Wilson, whose favorite target is a young wide receiver named Golden Tate. San Francisco is very ably led by Colin Kaepernick, and the 49ers have a plethora of offensive weapons. Both Seattle and San Francisco compete in the NFC West division, and have played each other twice in the regular season. Both teams also played against the Titans this season, each winning against Tennessee, the 49ers 31-17 in Nashville and the Seahawks 20-13 in Seattle.

After a slow start to the year, Kaepernick is the hotter quarterback entering the game. Wilson’s pass protection has been poor all season, and he’s developed some bad habits of late, but the Seahawks have the deeper defense overall an at least five or six of their players can take over a game at any time.

In the AFC matchup, as great as Manning has played all season, there is a reasonable debate over which quarterback played better down the stretch, and Brady has been on fire late in the season. The Broncos and Patriots both run the ball well, but they aren’t very balanced teams, as the offenses carry their defenses. The Broncos have been a better team overall all season and deserve to be favorites.

Denver hosts New England at 2:00 pm CST (live on CBS) and Seattle hosts San Francisco at 5:30 pm CST (live on FOX). PRIDE staff predictions: Jeremy picks Denver and San Francisco; Cass picks Seattle and Denver.

Seattle stars have roots in Nashville

Russell Wilson has roots in Nashville, as two of his grandparents were faculty at TSU back in the 1970’s, including his Dad’s mom Lucy Wilson and his Dad’s dad Harrison B. Wilson, Jr. Wilson, Jr.’s mom Marguerite Ayers and legendary TSU head football coach ‘Big’ John Ayers Merritt’s mom Grace Ayers were sisters. As for current Seattle receiver Golden Tate, his dad Golden Tate was a standout wide receiver under Merritt at TSU, and his mom is former TSU womens basketball coach Edna Overall’s daughter Yolanda Overall Tate. FYI: Interestingly, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity can claim Russell WIlson’s grandfather Harrison Wilson, Jr. and his cousin John Merritt, as well as his foe in the game Colin Kaepernick as members.