Even at age 35, Tom Brady remains an elite NFL quarterback.
His latest triumph is leading the New England Patriots back to the American Football Conference Championship Game. Brady’s troops tackle the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, 20 January, at 6.30pm on CBS for a second consecutive year with a Super Bowl berth at stake.
Sunday’s game is the latest in a fierce rivalry. History shows Brady escaped with a 23-20 win last year due to a missed field goal and lost to Baltimore 31-30 early in the regular season. In 2009, Baltimore suffocated the Pats in a 33-14 wild card thrashing.
A constant throughout those games is the Ravens defence, which is now rejuvenated with the return of Ray Lewis as he motivates the team on his last postseason hurrah.
Momentum plays a big role and with star New England tight-end Rob Gronkowski out with a broken forearm, it would seem Baltimore are the favourites. It should be a tight game but look for history to repeat itself as the Patriots pull off a three-point victory.
Over in the National Football Conference Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers battle the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 3pm on Fox. San Fran are riding high after crushing the Green Bay Packers last week while Atlanta are still celebrating their first playoff win under quarterback Matt Ryan as they clipped the Seattle Seahawks in the Georgia Dome.
At first glance, the Falcons may have the edge playing at home and having the most regular season victories between the two clubs. Ryan has proven he can perform in the waning moments of a postseason game and Atlanta fans can be difference-makers.
San Fran, though, have all the talent on both sides of the ball to be a Super Bowl team. Colin Kaepernick has been dynamic in and out of the pocket and made many forget about Alex Smith. Aldon Smith is a sack monster that few teams can contain.
The Niners have the extra motivation of reaching this stage last year and losing. Odds are Kaepernick produces enough magic in a 10-point victory, giving Cayman fans like Rupert Whittaker (who predicted a Pats-Niners Super Bowl last summer) a dream match-up in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.