Can the Ravens slow down the Patriots’ offense? Can the Giants finish off another improbable Super Bowl Run? These are the type of situations that make the playoffs so exciting. Four teams are now one game away from reaching the Super Bowl. Will we have the Harbraugh Bowl? Will it be a Patriots/Giants rematch? Here’s what Madden 12 thinks will happen:
Baltimore 9, New England 20: The question in this game may not be whether or not the Ravens D will slow down New England’s offense, but I’m pretty sure they will, the question is whether or not the offense can score enough points to keep up. One things for sure, if Ray Rice doesn’t have a big game, then that doesn’t seem very likely.
Things got off to a bad start for New England, as Brady threw a pick on their first possession. With a short field, the Ravens were able to drive into the red zone, but the Patriots D held and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal, which is not the way to win against Brady and the Patriots.
The Pats chewed up the rest of the first quarter and finally got within field goal range themselves early in the second, scoring on a 35 yard kick. The Ravens looked like they might be able to control this game, but then Flacco threw and ugly pick. It didn’t take long for Brady to get down the field and in the end zone on an 8 yard pass to Gronkowski.
The Ravens showed some resolve with a solid drive after the turnover, but it eventually fizzled and they had to settle for a 41 yard field goal. Unfortunately, they also left Brady with just over a minute in the half and a couple of timeouts. You know what the means, It wasn’t long before New England was scoring again on a 3 yard TD pass to the other tight end, Hernandez.
The third quarter started with New England in possession of the ball. They slowly and methodically made their way to the one yard line, where the Ravens D held the line. Hoping to put this game away entirely, New England went for it on fourth and goal at the one yard line…and didn’t get in. The Ravens took over and spent the rest of the quarter driving back the other direction.
Baltimore eventually made it into the red zone early in the fourth, but once again couldn’t find a way to punch it in, and so they settled for yet another field goal. The Patriots then worked the field and the clock and eventually got close enough for a 26 yard field goal. With time against them but the game still within reach, the Ravens did their best to make a comeback, but their hopes ended with yet another interception.
Once again Brady got off to a slow start but ended with a big day. He went 26 of 37 for 2 TDs and an INT. Meanwhile, Flacco was limited to 10 of 17 for 160 yards and 2 INTs. The running game was pretty much nonexistent once again for the Patriots, but even the Ravens had trouble on the ground with Rice getting only 54 yards. Gronkowski once again had a monster day, 162 yards and a TD while Smith was the big playmaker for the Ravens, keeping drives alive and ending the day with 66 yards. The Ravens D did their part, but the offense just couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities, and if that’s what really happens, get ready to see the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 27, New York 19: The Giants are surging once again, but will it be enough to carry them back to the Super Bowl. They have to get past that solid 49ers defense first, and the winner of this game will be the team that controls the offensive and defensive line.
The Giants got the ball first and had not trouble moving it down the field. However, in the red zone and with a chance to score, the 49ers defense broke through the line and got a sack/fumble on Manning which San Fran recovered. The Niners then drove back the other way and opened the second quarter with a 4 yard TD rush by Gore.
The Giants recovered nicely on their next drive. Once again they didn’t have trouble moving the ball, but eventually the Niners defense stopped them and New York had to settle for a 34 yard field goal. San Francisco used up plenty of clock getting in range for a 23 yard field goal of their own, but if we’ve learned one thing from the Giants game last week, any time on the clock before half-time is too much time to give Manning and the Giants. With a minute left and a couple of time outs, the Giants roared down the field before the half, and with just seconds left, Manning found Ballard in the end zone who made a diving 11 yard TD catch to tie the game right before the half.
San Francisco didn’t let that last frantic scoring drive frazzle them. They came out in the third, controlled the clock and moved methodically down the field. Eventually, Crabtree broke free and scored on a 28 yard TD toss.
The Giants move the ball back the other way, but once again the Niners D kept them out of the endzone, and New York settled for a 35 yard field goal to keep the game a one score affair.
The Giants D got their first big stop on the 49ers early in the fourth, and with a chance to pull ahead, New York confidently drove down the field. However, San Fran’s defense came up big once again, forcing a fumble that they recovered. Using lots of Frank Gore to use lots of clock, the Niners scored on a 3 yard TD run by Gore. The Giants weren’t perturbed, as they quickly got down the field to score a TD of their own, once again on a pass play to Ballard. The went for two to bring the score to three, but didn’t convert. Now it all came down to the 49ers ability to control the clock, so it’s a good thing Gore was having a decent game. They used as much time as they could getting in range for a 36 yard field goal, meaning the Giants would need a TD and a two point conversion to tie. This time, however, the Giants couldn’t make it happen and time ran out on another amazing run at the Super Bowl.
Manning went 22 for 29 for 384 yards and 2 TDs, while Smith had 12 of 21 for 215 yards and 1 TD. Gore made a difference on the ground despite a tough Giants defensive front. He had 96 yards and 2 TDs, while Bradshaw was limited to just 44 yards. The year of the tight end continued in this game, with Davis coming away with 152 yards for the 49ers (no amazing TD catches to win the game this time, however) and Ballard kept the Giants in the game with 74 yards and 2 TDs. The 49ers got 14 points off those two fumbles by the Giants, and that was the difference in the game. We’ll see if the Niners can win that battle for real this weekend.
So what do you think; is a Patriots/49ers Super Bowl one you’d be interested in watching?