2014 afc nfc championship nflThis is easily one of the best final-fours the NFL has had in the postseason for a looong time. Finally, we see the easily top two teams of each NFL conference face off for their conference title game, as only one winner will be decided for who can go on to the Super Bowl.

Can Peyton Manning or Tom Brady escalate their legacy to new heights with a another Super Bowl appearance? On the other side, can Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson begin to create theirs in their second year in the league as NFL starting quarterbacks?

Which defense will step up more? Will the run game play a big part again like in the Divisional Round of the 2014 NFL Playoffs?

All of that and more for FootBasket's conference championships preview.

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks

wilson kaepernick 2014While everyone talks about Manning vs Brady this weekend, I think the more closely-contested game will take place between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

I don't think the quarterbacks will play as big of a part as many would like to think it does. This game will all be about smash-mouth football: running the ball and playing great defense. Both teams rank high in both departments. It's going to be strength against strength.

I believe Wilson and Kaepernick will play mistake-free, but most of the game will depend on if they care of the ball, make big plays at certain situations and if their running backs can step up.

I don't expect either of these QBs to get over 250 yards of passing. Kaepernick has a good chance, but based of Wilson's past performances, I don't see it much for him.

Expect this to be a close one and the 49ers giving a good fight, but I just don't see them making it to the big show for the second straight season.

Seahawks win, 17-13

New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos

manning brady broncos pats 2013Here we go again: Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning.

It's been the age-old question of who's better. Personally, I take Manning as the better QB, but we can save that debate for another time. A lot of people have this as a legacy game, as both QBs could be playing for the GOAT title if they win today. No matter who wins this game, people will still be talking about who's the better quarterback.

With that said, it's annoying to have the focus on all this, but I don't blame anyone for that. These two are easily two of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation, and could easily make a case for being 1A and 1B as the greatest QBs in history.

Let's take it as it is: it's the Patriots versus the Broncos.

New England is coming in hot with great running game, having six rushing touchdowns without Tom Brady scoring a single one of them, even on the passing side, too. However, running the ball will be a lot tougher versus Denver.

Denver has one of the best rush defenses in the league. While I do expect the Pats to get a good amount of yardage and maybe get into the 100-yard department, it will all come down to how Tom Brady will perform when it counts.

Brady is going to be passing the ball a lot more in this game, I think, especially with Denver's Achilles' heel being their secondary. Expect New England put some points up on the passing game, but nothing more.

I expect this to be a game going all the way for Denver. Peyton Manning has always had a tough time against New England, and for good reason with Bill Belichick's genius defensive mind. Can Manning recognize what Belichick will do with his schemes?

While I do expect the Broncos to get a crazy rushing game going like the last meeting, I don't see it repeating the exact with Knowshon Moreno getting over 200 yards. Expect it him to get about 120-150 yards. Also, I don't see Manning playing the way he did last time.

Manning will top 300 yards passing and a big X-factor into that is tight end Julius Thomas. Thomas did not play in the last game, so Peyton gets another big target in addition to having Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. I expect Manning to take apart this defense, silencing the critics about his playoff performances.

I don't see Manning losing it this time. All the stats favor Manning winning. Manning is 1-1 against Brady in the AFC Championship, and the home team has always won the game and went on to win the Super Bowl. I expect the same to happen here.

Brady has always struggled versus Denver. The last road playoff game for him was the 2006 AFC title game against Manning's Colts. I expect Denver to win, but at least by double-digits. Yes, I think Denver has a major advantage, and having home-field definitely will help them.

I expect Denver to get the victory here.

Broncos win, 31-17


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