NFC Championship Predictions

Posted: 01/20/2013 by levcohen in Football
Tags: , ,

Who is excited for the two games that will determine the Super Bowl matchup? I definitely am. On to the games.

At 3:00 EST: San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1, 10-7 ATS) at Atlanta Falcons (14-3, 9-7-1)
Spread: 49ers favored by 3.5
Over/under: 48

San Fran’s Case:
This is a great matchup for the 49ers. They have a running QB, Colin Kaepernick, and the Falcons have struggled against that type of quarterback (Russell Wilson, Cam Newton). The Falcons are poor against the run and the 49ers have Frank Gore. On the defensive side, the 9ers rely on their pass rush, and the Falcons o-line might be the worst of the remaining four teams. The Falcons have big, physical, skilled receivers, but San Fran’s big and fast secondary might be able to slow down Julio, Roddy and Tony. Plus, the Falcons are below average in both defense and special teams. The better all around team should win here.

Atlanta’s case:
The Falcons are home in the tough-to-play-in Georgia Dome. They didn’t have to fly across the country like San Francisco did. They have a great aerial passing game, and are assured to have at least one long touchdown pass every game. With receivers like Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, it is impossible to smother their passing game. On the defensive end, they are underrated, as they held the explosive Seahawks to zero first half points. Atlanta has to love being the home underdog. Nobody is picking them, so watch out.

My prediction: 49ers- 31, Falcons- 24.. This line is too big, but I’m sticking with the 49ers, because I truly think they will win, not because I think their line is favorable.49ers cover
Over

At 6:30 EST: Baltimore Ravens (12-6, 8-9-1) at New England Patriots (13-4, 10-6-1)
Spread: Patriots favored by 8
Over/under: 51

Baltimore’s case: The lone team in the playoffs that did not have a first round bye, the Ravens are hungry to defeat the Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game. Kicking and special teams are not going to be a problem this year, as they were last year in that infamous game. Even after giving up two special teams touchdowns last week, the Ravens are still top five in ST. As for the offense and defense, both are improving. As I type this, another person is jumping on the Joe Flacco bandwagon. Flacco was tremendous last week, and he can tear it up on deep passes, which is New England’s biggest weakness. Ray Lewis has been a monster defensively, possibly the best defender in the playoffs. With Ray, the Ravens defense is almost unbreakable. New England gave up a lot of points to a bad Houston offense last week.

New England’s case: The Patriots are the best all around team in the NFL, ranking tops in offense, 12th in defense and 3rd in special teams. With Tom Brady, they have the best QB in NFL playoff history. The defense is coming around, and the offense is guaranteed to put up at least 30 points every game. There really isn’t anything else to say. When looking up and down the roster, I can assure you that the Patriots have the best group of players in the NFL, at least on paper. Playing at home in January gives them another small but potentially meaningful advantage.

My prediction: Ravens- 34, Patriots- 31.. Sure, why not. — Upset pick
Ravens cover
Over

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