The National Football League's Championship Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year. Not just the NFL season but the whole year. Unlike Super Sunday we get treated to two games instead of one. Most of the time conference title games end up being more competitive than the big game. I am a huge Cowboys fan and as you all know it's been a long, long time since they've played in one of these games. Nevertheless I always look forward to the matchups with a great deal of excitement. This year it's no different with the intriguing matchups we have. So what do I think is gonna happen? Let me tell you.
San Francisco @ Atlanta
These are a couple of teams that rarely beat themselves. They play smart football and keep penalties and turnovers to a minimum. Jim Harbaugh and the Niners need no reminder of how costly turnovers can be in the playoffs. Around this time last year a couple of crucial turnovers may have cost them a trip to the Super Bowl as they fell to the eventual champion New York Giants. Harbaugh has certainly watched film and has seen how Seattle also made some critical mistakes that in the long run cost them at the end. Atlanta pretty much played a flawless first half against Seattle unless you see the two field goals as missed touchdown opportunities, which was clearly the case. San Francisco, like Seattle, can get hot and get hot in a hurry. They have an offense that feeds off their defense and vice-versa, that is an intangible I do not see in Atlanta. When the running game of San Francisco gets going and believe me it will, Colin Kaepernick will be able to pick and choose his spots. Whether it's the play-action pass or the option that they run so well, once they get going there will be no way to contain them. Don't get me wrong Atlanta has a great offense that consists of many weapons and can put up points. I just do not see the Falcons defense making enough stops against San Fran's offense to keep them in the game. Their defense is suspect against the run and as we saw last week when Russell Wilson and Seattle got hot, the Falcons D was pretty much against the ropes. If this game plays out the way I believe, it will not be close. Sorry Atlanta. 49ers 34, Falcons 20
Baltimore @ New England
So we meet again. After last season's heartbreaking loss the Ravens could not be happier to still be alive and get another shot at Tom Brady and the Pats. The Patriots come into this game confident while the Ravens come in believing. Nine point underdogs coming to play at the house of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. Sound familiar? After last week's miracle win in Denver one can't help but think that perhaps the Ravens are a team of destiny. That destiny is going to depend on the play of one individual. Football common sense, along with just about every football analyst in the country, will tell you that the running game is the most important factor to an offense. In Baltimore's case there is no question that Ray Rice is the anchor of the offense and statistics will say that as he goes so do the Ravens. This is going to be a different game though. The Ravens are going to need points, big play points. If the Ravens are going to go Sunday, Joe Flacco needs to be the guy. Flacco displayed real confidence for a change going up against Peyton Manning and will need to channel the same energy to compete against the high power offense of Tom Brady. I am looking forward to watching a highly competitive game. I expect Bill Belichick to have his team ready and prepared with a great gameplan. I expect the Ravens to play with heart and determination while leaving it all out on the field. In the end I see Tom Brady just being too much and the Ravens just not doing enough to stop him. Happy retirement Ray. Patriots 38, Ravens 24
Those are my thoughts and I feel pretty good about my predictions. We will see what happens on Sunday, after all that's why they play the games.