Expert Picks And Analysis: AFC, NFC Championship Games

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 19: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots congratulates Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos after the Broncos defeated the Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CBS Local Sports talent from across the country weigh in on this weekend's Championship matchups. See how our NFL experts made their picks for the NFL Playoffs.

The Experts
Picks Overview
  Jamie Samuelsen Dan Roche Mike Cugno
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Sun., January 24
New England Patriots New England Patriots New England Patriots
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Sun., January 24
Arizona Cardinals Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers
Picks Analysis
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Sun., January 24
Jamie Samuelsen, 97.1 The Ticket | CBS Detroit
New England Patriots
The fact that they’re billing this as Brady v. Manning 17 is a little misleading. Brady is still at the top of his powers and would be the league MVP if it weren’t for Cam Newton. Manning is in his final days and is getting by on short passes and relying on his defense. The Pats are the better overall team and should have an easy time ‐ even with a staunch Denver defense.
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV, CBS Boston
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV | CBS Boston
New England Patriots
This has the potential makings of a good one, with lots of interesting match-ups. Tom Brady showed how lethal the Patriots offense still is when he's got his healthy stable of receivers and tight ends as he dismantled a good KC defense with ease. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola didn't play in the first meeting, an OT win by the Broncos. The Denver secondary lacks depth and CB Chris Harris, Jr. played the Steelers game with basically one arm due to a shoulder injury. If Brady has time...watch out. As for the Broncos, C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman ran for 179 yards and 3 TD's in the first meeting vs NE and there's no reason why they shouldn't try to duplicate that effort against a linebacker crew that is banged up and minus Jerod Mayo (IR). Patrick Chung could be key for the Pats. Brady leads Manning 9-3 in the regular season while they are 2-2 in the postseason. Brady continues his vengeance tour: Patriots 27-24.
Mike Cugno, CBS4 | CBS Miami
New England Patriots
Unfortunately, this is probably the final Manning vs. Brady playoff game we’ll see. While the Broncos have a great defense I don’t think Peyton has enough in the tank should Denver fall behind. Patriots 24, Broncos 18.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Sun., January 24
Jamie Samuelsen, 97.1 The Ticket | CBS Detroit
Arizona Cardinals
The conference championship games tend to come down to who is the better overall team as opposed to who has home field. Arizona has the best team remaining in the postseason. Most offensive weapons. Most defensive playmakers. They have enough, in my opinion, to overcome the individual greatness of Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV, CBS Boston
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV | CBS Boston
Carolina Panthers
I look at this game as falling on the shoulders of one player: Cards QB Carson Palmer. He notched his first-ever playoff win last week in a wild and crazy game against the Packers. His numbers were great...349 yards passing and 3 TD's, but it was a bizarre night. The question is...does he now relax, breathe, and show why he was a top regular season MVP candidate or does he falter vs a good Panthers defense in a tough place to play? The Panthers are rolling and put up 31 vs a good Seattle defense while cooling off a red hot Russell Wilson. I happen to think that Panther train will continue to churn down the tracks: Panthers 28-10.
Mike Cugno, CBS4 | CBS Miami
Carolina Panthers
I picked against the Panthers last week and it’s a mistake I won’t make again. As long as they figure out how to play with a lead, Carolina should be able to knock off Arizona. Panthers 28, Cardinals 27.

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