The Wild Cards have been played, which means there are eight teams vying for an opportunity only two clubs will attain. In the NFC the defending champion Packers remain as do the Saints, 49ers, and Giants. Obviously, most people, those outside of New York and San Francisco anyway, want to see an NFC Championship meeting between the last two Super Bowl winners Green Bay and New Orleans. If the odds makers are correct in their 2012 NFC Championship Game Predictions, that is exactly what fans will witness in a couple of weeks. The Pack are the favorite to win the game at -140 moneyline odds while the Saints are currently registering at +200 odds.
Certainly a Packers versus Saints NFC finale seems probable, but at this stage of the game, as history has proven time and again, no team should be dismissed. Green Bay has been flawless at Lambeau this season, but the Packers were a near perfect 7-1 at home when the Giants knocked them off in the 2008 NFC Championship Game.
Green Bay has a lot on its plate right now with the tragic death of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin’s son, no doubt, casting a pall over the team. The pressure is also on the Packers in this game, they are expected to win. New York, on the other hand, has nothing to lose, the Giants weren’t even supposed to be here. Green Bay has more than enough talent to overcome external obstacles or post-season pressure, but there have been plenty of teams in the past equipped to deal with both of those things that did not. In other words, take no game for granted, particularly in the playoffs.
New Orleans also has a major hurdle sitting in front of it in the form of the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints are a good road team, but they are much easier to deal with away from the Superdome. All three of New Orleans’ regular season losses came on the road, and aside from those setbacks Drew Brees and company had at least two other close calls at visiting venues (30-27 at Carolina, 26-23 at Atlanta).
The Niners, as one would expect from a two seed, are no slouch at home. San Francisco went 7-1 at Candlestick Park where it defeated visitors by an average of 19.6 points per game. Futhermore, the 49ers fourth ranked defense has the ability to give the Saints explosive offense trouble. When these two teams hooked up in San Francisco last season the Niners limited New Orleans to 17 first downs and 287 total yards. San Francisco lost the game 22-25, but it managed to keep the game close despite four turnovers.
Yes, the Packers and Saints are the odds on favorites to reach the championship, but both New York and San Francisco look like pretty solid against the spread options this coming weekend.
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2012 NFC Championship Game Predictions: Provided by TopBet.com
Green Bay Packers -140
New Orleans Saints +200
San Francisco 49ers +600
New York Giants +1000