AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Judy Battista: Broncos over Patriots. Both teams are better than they were last season, especially on defense, but Peyton Manning's array of offensive weapons is the difference. The only team with a chance to disrupt this meeting is the Colts.
Brian Billick: Patriots over Bengals. New England -- which is carrying a 4-5 playoff record since 2009 -- reclaims its postseason dominance and represents the AFC in the Super Bowl for the sixth time under Bill Belichick.
Gil Brandt: Patriots over Broncos. With Darrelle Revis upgrading their dynamic duo (Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) to a big three, the Patriots have what it takes to flip the results of last season's AFC title game -- especially since the rematch takes place in Foxborough.
Bucky Brooks: Broncos over Patriots. The Broncos' balanced attack overcomes Tom Brady and Co. in the second half to claim the AFC crown for the second straight season.
Charley Casserly: Broncos over Patriots. Denver's defense is better this year, and so is New England's. But can key Patriots contributors like Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork stay healthy?
Dave Dameshek: Patriots over Colts. Brady goes into The House That Peyton Built (where the Pats lost a Super Bowl three seasons ago) and beats Andrew Luck's top-seeded Colts, punching his ticket to Arizona (where the Pats lost a Super Bowl seven seasons ago) with a chance at redemption.
Elliot Harrison: Patriots over Broncos. Denver survives San Diego but, after beating the Patriots last year, is unable to repeat that feat. Turnovers are the key in this AFC title rematch.
Gregg Rosenthal: Patriots over Steelers. Kordell Stewart will not be involved.
Adam Schein: Broncos over Patriots. Sign me up for Manning vs. Brady one more time. Denver is the best team in the AFC.
Michael Silver: Colts over Bengals. Andrew Luck is a baaaaaad man -- and he is part of a very good team that will peak at the right time.
Chris Wesseling: Patriots over Broncos. I'd rather see Brady in an NFL-record sixth Super Bowl than Peyton Manning in a fourth Super Bowl. Darrelle Revis makes the difference.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Judy Battista: Packers over Saints. Green Bay gets the slight edge if the offensive line can protect Aaron Rodgers from Rob Ryan's wild blitzes.
Brian Billick: Seahawks over Bears. The league hasn't had a repeat champion since the Patriots took home the Lombardi Trophy in 2003 and '04, but Seattle will get its shot this season.
Gil Brandt: Saints over Seahawks. Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks welcome the Seahawks to New Orleans, then work in concert with the Saints' improved defense to end Seattle's hopes of repeating.
Bucky Brooks: Saints over Seahawks. New Orleans' home-field advantage proves to be the deciding factor in this battle of NFC heavyweights. Drew Brees solves Pete Carroll's defensive riddle and torches Seattle for 400 yards in a surprising shootout in the Superdome.
Everyone knows Seattle has a superb D, but
says the 'Hawks are ready to rock on the
side of the ball.
Charley Casserly: Seahawks over Saints. Seattle beats New Orleans in a second consecutive postseason. Percy Harvin's big plays make the difference.
Dave Dameshek: Packers over Saints. Nineteen weeks after beating the Seahawks in Seattle to start the season, the Packers go into the league's second-toughest road venue and emerge with a trip to the Super Bowl.
Elliot Harrison: Seahawks over Packers. Green Bay tops Chicago in a hard-fought, emotional victory, but doesn't have enough left over to overtake the 'Hawks at their place.
Gregg Rosenthal: Packers over Seahawks. The trick will be winning enough regular-season games to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Adam Schein: Packers over Saints. In a passing league, the NFC's two best quarterbacks square off on Championship Sunday, and the best QB prevails.
Michael Silver: Seahawks over Packers. A tremendous defense slows down a fabulous offense, and Russell Wilson makes the clutch play at the right time -- no Fail Mary required.
Chris Wesseling: Saints over Seahawks. It all comes down to home-field advantage. The NFL's best record gives the Saints the edge.