Well the divisional round split the baby, again. I only got the Sunday games right this time. Now it’s the final four teams. Three of the four teams that are playing this week are holdovers from last year as only the defending champ Giants are not here this year. Odds are provided by bodog.net and are for informational, comparison and entertainment purposes only. If you bet the lines and get took its on you.
NFL SCHEDULE – CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND
Sunday, January 20
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
49ers (12-4-1, #2 seed as NFC West Champions) @ Falcons (14-3, #1 seed as NFC South Champions)
Georgia Dome, Atlanta 3:00 (FOX)
Favorite 49ers by 5
Last Week 49ers defeated NFC North Champ Packers 45-31, Falcons defeated NFC #2 Wild Card Seahawks 30-28
Fast Fact SF: QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for a 181 yards a playoff record for a QB ATL: The task of slowing down the Niners offense will fall to Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan who went 18-37 as coach of the Niners from 2005-2008.
The Niners slugged it out with the Packers and rolled to a pretty easy win. The Falcons raced out to a big lead, blew it and rallied late to steal the win. Colin Kaepernick is the dynamic edge that confounds defenses with his running as well as his precise passing. Meanwhile the Falcons Matt Ryan finally got the playoff monkey off his back with a solid performance. Im still curious as to the thinking of Falcons Mike Smith who tried his best not to lose instead of playing to win, they blew a big lead in the 4th trying to play conservative. Im looking at the Falcons playing at home where they are 7-1 as a formidable task to overcome especially for a young QB like Kaepernick. I think that the Niners defense is the real edge here, I think that they can get to Matt Ryan enough to force him into mistakes. The Falcons have a bad tendency to wander on defense and gave up 7.44 yards a play in the divisional round game. With having trouble with mobile QB’s this could spell trouble. I have a feeling that the Niners will string along the Falcons and grind out a win.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Ravens (12-6 #4 seed as AFC North Champions) @ Patriots (13-4 #2 seed as AFC East Champions)
Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, MA 6:30 (CBS)
Favorite Patriots by 10
Last Week Ravens defeated AFC West Champ Broncos 38-35 in 2OT, Patriots defeated AFC South Champ Texans 41-28
Previous Meetings: Two previous meetings in Foxboro, 1-1 split last meeting Pats defeating Ravens 23-20 in the 2011 AFC Championship game.
Fast Facts NE: Patriots are 4-0 at home in the AFC Championship BAL: QB Joe Flacco is the first NFL quarterback to have at least one win in each of his first five appearances, they have been in consecutive years to boot.
The rematch of last years epic AFC title game is the nightcap. Joe Flacco led the resilient Ravens to upset the Broncos in Mile High. Meanwhile the Pats looked almost bored in dispatching the Texans in the divisional round. Many people think that Joe Flacco continues to mature and develop into an upper echelon quarterback but the one thing that has been eluding the Ravens signal caller is a conference title, it seems that every other team in the AFC has beaten him for a conference title when in reality it has been 3 teams Pittsburgh, Indy and yes New England. Having had lost in the title game last year when a last second game tying field goal was shanked, the Ravens feel that they are not far off from beating the Pats, especially when they defeated them in week 2. Tom Brady has had an uneven record against the Ravens, but I just cant see then aged Ravens defense slowing down the Pats offense and I cant see the Ravens offense who got let off the hook by bad defensive secondary play, getting the same kind of breaks against a Pats team who seemingly always is going for the throat. The media would love to see a Harbaugh brothers Super Bowl to play up the sibling rivalry. But they wont get it, it’ll be the Patriots…again.