I thought the winner of the Packers-Niners would be in the Super Bowl before last week and Colin Kaerpernick shamed the Green Bay defense for 444 total yards himself. I don’t expect it to be so easy this week, but I think San Francisco wins the game with defense this time. Unless Matty Ice can pull out a late win, SF will be losing in New Orleans, not Atlanta.
SF 24 ATL 20
Tom Brady and the Patriots play offense like the Packers SHOULD play it. Unless the Patriots allow Torrey Smith open deep as many times as Denver did last week, I don’t think the Ravens can keep up. Patriots win BIG.
NE 41 Ravens 24
Darryl Krejci: So it has come down to Championship weekend and my picks for the victors.
In looking at the NFC game, my gut tells me to choose the Packers, but everyone says I have to pick a team that is actually playing. So I am going with San Francisco. The reason is simple, last year the Giants beat Green Bay to reach the Super Bowl and I see history repeating itself this year with the team that beat the Packers going to New Orleans. I just don’t see Atlanta having the power to stop the 49ers. San Francisco is the team that is on the roll and sadly to say will be unstoppable.
In the AFC game, I have to choose Baltimore as the sentimental pick. I am not a big Ray Lewis fan but it is always nice to see a guy go out on top after so many years in the NFL. Also (no offense to Grandma Karen in Massachusetts) I just can’t find it in my heart to root for Brady and the Patriots.
I know there is no rational or statistical basis for these picks, but then again, I go by my heart and not my head. Then again I am still holding out hope that when I turn on the TV, Green Bay will be playing and not the Forty-Niners. So take my picks for what they are worth.
GO PACK GO.
Ray Rivard: Here we are, it’s championship weekend and guess what? The Packers aren’t playing. Yes, it’s becoming a habit losing in the Divisional round and very disappointing. So, we’ve got the 49ers traveling to Atlanta in the NFC and the Patriots hosting the Ravens in the AFC … YAWN!
OK, so I’m a bit jealous of the 49ers as they head into their second straight championship game. Reminds me of the Packers of the mid-1990s. While the Giants got the break late in last year’s championship and carried it all the way to a Super Bowl championship, so will the Niners this season. I just don’t see the Falcons getting a handle and a hand on Colin Kaepernick. He’s the one with the hot hand and so are the Niners.
I see the Niners winning a game that will be close in the first half. Like what they did to the Packers last week in the second half, the Niners will “run” away with this one.
SF 32 Atlanta 17
On the AFC side of things, the sentimental favorite is the Ravens. Yes, they should have won last year, but this is a different year. While everyone would like to see Ray Lewis go out in style, it will be Tom Brady who gets the best in this one. Brady’s been here too many times to let the Super Bowl get away from him again. After all, he won’t have many more chances to get back to this point.
Brady will lead the Pats over the Ravens once again, but I don’t see this one being as close as last year.
Pats 27 Ravens 16
Patrick Hughes: Oh to write a prediction about a game that I so much looked forward to the Packers being in, it pains me. Am I being overly dramatic, probably? But it would have been so fun to cheer the Pack onto a Super Bowl. Oh the agony of defeat. Nonetheless, I have to make a prediction on who will make their way to Super Bowl XLVII.
The NFC Championship Game, you know the one Green Bay should be playing, yeah that one. The way the 49ers blasted the Packers you would think San Francisco would handle the Falcons without much problem. I think that too. But the Falcons are not going to roll over.
49ers 28, Falcons 24.
As for the AFC Championship Game, logic would say once again the world is going to have to watch the Patriots in the Super Bowl. But I think the Ray Lewis Goodbye Tour has a couple more stops. Emotion is going to carry the Ravens to victory.
Baltimore 24, Patriots 17
49ers at Falcons
For the first time in years, the number one seed is the underdog in a conference championship game. The reason is two-fold: the Falcons have squeaked out many of their 13 regular season wins and their lone playoff victory under Mike Smith and Matt Ryan while the 49ers steamrolled the Packers a week prior.
The combination of these two forces distorts the difference between the two teams. On a neutral field, San Francisco is a likely victor. However, Atlanta has lost at home only five times in the last three seasons including playoffs, and the Georgia Dome negates a lot of the teams’ disadvantages.
The Falcons will have to prevent the second half collapse that nearly sunk them in the divisional round. The 49ers, on the other hand, will likely face real adversity for the first time in these playoffs, and more specifically for the first time under Colin Kaepernick. In the end, there are more scenarios where San Francisco wins than there are for Atlanta.
49ers 34 – Falcons 28
Ravens at Patriots
On paper, this is a fantastic matchup for the NFL. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick go for their sixth Super Bowl appearance while Ray Lewis tries to push off retirement for another game. There are even good sub-storylines as well. Joe Flacco can earn a place at top of the NFL’s quarterback hierarchy – and a massive new contract – with a strong performance.
However, there are just too many mismatches that favor the Patriots. The Ravens defense, decimated by injuries, literally will struggle to keep up with the high pace Patriots offense. On the flip side, the Patriots pass defense has improved enough to disrupt Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin in the passing game.
Unlike last year, this matchup shouldn’t come down to the last play and we’ll finally bid adieu to the cartoon formerly known as Ray Lewis.
Patriots 38 – Ravens 24