Who wins AFC, NFC championship games?

January 17, 2013

Ravens and 49ers

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

In the NFC, I like the 49ers beating the Falcons. Atlanta couldn't stop Russell Wilson in the second half against the Seahawks, and Colin Kaepernick won't be any easier. Even with Justin Smith playing with a torn triceps, the 49ers will be able to stop the run better than the Seahawks did in the first half against the Falcons.

In the AFC, I like the Ravens upsetting the Patriots. In the five times these teams have met, with Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh coaching, every game but one has come down to the last possession. The Ravens defense is coming together at the right time, and the Ravens have gotten Anquan Boldin more involved on offense. They're poised to pull off an upset.


Patriots and 49ers

Aaron Wilson

Baltimore Sun

Will the Ray Lewis Farewell Tour end in New Orleans in the Super Bowl? Will Harbaugh Bowl II become a reality? No. The Ravens' quest again ends in New England.

Patriots 31, Ravens 27: Despite a game effort, the Ravens fall short of the elusive Super Bowl berth as Tom Brady throws a series of darts to Wes Welker. Joe Flacco and the offense are unable to score enough points to make up for several defensive breakdowns.

49ers 24, Falcons 16: A hard-nosed running game led by Frank Gore and the athleticism of quarterback Colin Kaepernick controls the clock. Pass rusher Aldon Smith harasses Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan into miscues.


Patriots and 49ers

Omar Kelly

Sun Sentinel

Last weekend's playoff games showed us the quarterbacks who delivered in the fourth quarter and overtime are the ones whose teams will advance. That's why I'm riding with the 49ers and Patriots.

The Ravens defense has been dominant, but so has Tom Brady. The Patriots have too many weapons, and the Ravens don't have enough pass rushing to cut off the head of Bill Belichick's serpent. Joe Flacco has made drastic improvements, but he's not on Brady's level.

The same can be said about Matt Ryan, whose Falcons host the 49ers, the most complete team in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick is the NFL's most dynamic young quarterback, and he has a ton of weapons around him.


Ravens and 49ers

Vaughn McClure

Chicago Tribune

Emotion could be the key factor in the AFC championship game rematch. The Ravens rode an emotional wave to a 31-30 regular-season win over the Patriots as receiver Torrey Smith scored two TDs on the same day he learned his brother died. This time, the Ravens might be driven by a desire to prolong Ray Lewis' career one more game. Ravens 24, Patriots 21.

In the NFC championship clash, some figured Matt Ryan and the Falcons finally got over the hump with last week's 30-28 win over the Seahawks. Not exactly. If anything, Atlanta showed flaws on defense that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is sure to expose. 49ers 27, Falcons 20.


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