New England Patriots 21     San Diego Chargers 12

As if beating the Patriots isn’t hard enough, the Chargers were undermanned and played the majority of the game without their best player, injured running back LaDanian Tomlinson and their quarterback, Philip Rivers was hobbled by a sore knee.

San Diego’s defense intercepted New England quarterback Tom Brady three times but Pats running back Laurence Maroney picked up the slack, running over Chargers defenders for 122 yards.

The Patriots won because they were the team scoring touchdowns, while the banged-up Bolts could only manage four field-goals despite having numerous opportunities in the red zone.

The Heckler’s Prediction: Pats 37, Bolts 20

The Patriots won the AFC and are going to Super Bowl XLII because of the play of their defense. Although San Diego held New England’s offense as well as anybody has during the 2007 season;  it comes down to the fact it was the Chargers kicker doing all the scoring and not Philip Rivers.

 New York Giants 23     Green Bay Packers 20

With the NFC Championship hanging in the balance, Packers quarterback Brett Favre had two golden opportunities to take the Green Bay back to their first Super Bowl since 1997 and he failed… badly.

The first chance came with the game tied at 20, Packers ball 1st and 10 with 2:48 left in regulation. Favre threw two incompletions and a short five-yard pass and the Packers went three-and-out.

The second came on Favre’s first and only pass in overtime. A pass intended for Donald Driver was intercepted by Giants cornerback Corey Webster, who returned the ball to the Packers 34 yard line. Four plays later, the Giants’ Lawrence Tynes was kicking a 47-yard field goal to put his team into the Super Bowl.

The Heckler’s Prediction: Pack 26, G-Men 17

The Giants proved me and the rest of the prognosticators wrong by winning three straight playoff games on the road. Giants quarterback Eli Manning was impressive in all three games, especially with all the chips on the table in Lambeau.

The game and the NFC title were for the taking but Favre was unable to lead his team to victory in one of the most important games of his career