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NFL Playoffs - Conference Championships

January 16th 2013 17:21
It's conference championship weekend and if the games are anything like divisional round games, we are in for a treat of some high drama action. Let's take a look at the 4 big boy teams still alive.

San Francisco 49'ers vs Atlanta Falcons
San Francisco is coming in off of a home beat down of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The niners had pressure on Rodgers just about the whole game and on the other side of the ball, Colin Kaepernick ran all over the Packer defense to the tune of a playoff record 181 yards. Although Kaepernick is really good and is playing at a high level, I believe this record is more directly contributable to the defensive schemes of the Packers. I think it's fine to come out aggressive and play man and trust your front seven to contain him, but once he starts torching you, you have to make some adjustments and get into zone don't you?

Atlanta is coming in, having finally conquered their one and done tag. They didn't do it without some high drama however. Atlanta dominated the first half of the game, and the Seattle Seahawks dominated the second half of the game except for the final 31 seconds when Matty Ice lived up to his moniker and pulled a win from the jaws of defeat. Will this win propel the Falcons to play a loser more complete game this week? Or will the Falcons come out flat after an emotional win and have to be the ones playing catch up this time?

I think the Falcon's will play zone defense almost the entire game against the niners which means Kaepernick will likely have a much better chance at success through the air this week, assuming the Falcons are able to somewhat control the zone option running plays with Gore and company. The zone defense will be a bend but don't break defense which Falcon's are familiar with. They will be hoping/needing to hold niners to field goal attempts when they get inside red zone. Falcons defense will likely need to create some turnovers as well to give their offense a couple of short fields to work with. When the Falcons have the ball, the key will be Matt Ryan getting enough time to throw the football. If the niners can get quick pressure with their front four, it will be a long game for Falcons. If however the Falcons offensive line holds up along with screens, draws and quick throws to slow down the pass rush, then Falcons will have a good chance of moving the ball and scoring with their very talented play makers. Who do you think moves on and represents NFC in the Super Bowl? Can the Falcon's pull off an upset?

Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots
Baltimore is coming in off an amazing overtime win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Baltimore got a gift touchdown late in the game to force overtime and made enough plays in OT to get the victory. Ray Lewis was less than a minute from having played his final game. Perhaps the football gods wanted to see him play one more? The Ravens defense has definately stepped up their game in the postseason and as in years past, Joe Flaco has been playing very good football in the postseason. He is definately one of the rare players that significantly step up their games in the postseason.

New England is coming in off an impressive victory over the Texans. The Texans just don't match up well with the Patriots, so this one was not a surprise. New England, unlike Atlanta also understands how to step on the throat of the opponent when you have them down. Tom Brady played great as usual and frankly we are more shocked when he does not play great. The Patriots have a ton of offense, even when they lose two play makers early in the game. Their defense also seems to be getting better week to week.

I think this game comes down to Patriots offense vs Ravens defense. I don't think Baltimore can score enough points to win this game unless the Ravens defense steps up big time and makes a few turnovers, and possible even takes one to the house. Agree or Disagree?

Discuss both games here and let's get ready for an awesome NFL playoff weekend.

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