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    • TOUR pros predict NFL's conference championship games

    • Peyton Manning and Denver take on New England in the AFC Championship game. (Cox/Getty Images) Peyton Manning and Denver take on New England in the AFC Championship game. (Cox/Getty Images)

    With the PGA TOUR members playing alongside amateurs and basking in the desert sun and heat of Palm Springs this week, the focus isn’t entirely on golf. Many of the players will have championship football on their minds as the NFL whittles the playoffs down to the final two contenders for Super Bowl XLVIII.

    During early week practice rounds, a few of the players were quizzed about their thoughts and gave some predictions for Sunday’s NFC Championship game between San Francisco and Seattle and the AFC Championship game between Denver and New England.

    J.J. Henry: NFC: "It should be a defensive war between arguably the best rivals in the NFL right now. It's almost like a college atmosphere in Seattle with the noise and the crowd but I'm going to pick an upset and take San Francisco. The Niners are on a run."; AFC: "It's hard to root against Peyton Manning and what he's done this year. Being a New England guy from Connecticut it’s also hard not to pull for the Patriots but I'm pulling for Denver. With the year he's had and how he's come back the last couple years I think he deserves (a Super Bowl) more than anybody else."

    Jamie Lovemark, NFC: "I'll take Seattle 21-16. The Seahawks are a more complete team and they’re playing at home. Russell Wilson doesn’t make mistakes and their crowd and that defense will carry them."; AFC: "Patriots over Denver 27-24 just because Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning and he's been more clutch in the playoffs."

    Ed Loar, NFC: "I'll take the 49ers 24-13. The Seahawks look like they are really struggling on offense right now. Both defenses are great."; AFC: "I think it will be a high-scoring game and I'll go with Denver 38-31. The Broncos are playing at home and Peyton Manning has had the best season of any quarterback, ever."

    Jim Renner, NFC: "I'll go with Seattle. They're at home and play so well there but San Francisco has momentum. Actually I’m going to change it – I’m going with the Nature Boy. I’m going to take San Francisco because of Ric Flair!”; AFC: "Obviously I like the Patriots even though it's in Denver. I like New England's toughness. I think it's their year because they lost so many people and it's been an uphill battle. They haven't been overwhelming favorites this season. It reminds me of early 2000 when they played with a chip on their shoulder."

    Johnson Wagner, NFC: "I'll pick the 49ers 24-21 because Colin Kaepernick is a playoff stud. He’s been there and he beat my Carolina Panthers last week so I want to see them go to the Super Bowl again."; AFC: "I think Peyton Manning is going to win it all. I think (Denver is) going to beat the Patriots 41-30. I just think it’s Peyton's turn. He's too good."

    Paul Goydos, NFC: "I like Seattle to win because that stadium is the loudest place in the world. Their confidence against the 49ers in that place has to be outstanding."; AFC: "At the end of the day, it always seems like the Patriots win. I think Denver is a better team but the Patriots know how to win. I've got to go with Brady."

    James Hahn, NFC: "Being from there I have to go with the Niners. I feel like they're playing their best right now and I think teams that play their best in the playoffs win championships. They’re really comfortable and I think Kaepernick is a natural leader. I don't think they'll struggle if it rains because in the Bay Area we struggle with the rain and we make it happen when the odds are against us. I'm living proof of that. I think talent and hard work overcomes all. I'll take a bet right now – I'll give anybody 10 points, easy. That’s easy money for me."; AFC: "That one is a tough one. Half the time I want to say New England but only because it's in Denver that I'll take the Broncos. I think it will be close and I’m going to say it goes into overtime. In fact, I'll predict New England scores a field goal on the first possession and Denver comes back with a touchdown to win it. When it comes down to it, I really can't decide (laughing)."

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