By Danny Cox
And then there were four.
Championship Sunday is now upon us all and there is no getting away from it. Actually, who would want to get away from it anyway? Once all is said and done though, two of the four teams will have no choice but to be away from it all and the other two will prepare to head to New Orleans for the Super Bowl.
Neither game is going to be an easy win for any of these teams, and they are going to have to put forth a full 60 minutes in order to advance. If there are injuries, they’ll have to play through them. If one team builds a lead, they will have to pour it on and not just protect the lead.
Everything is going to have to be left out on those fields on Sunday, and there can be nothing that is held back. In order to get to the Super Bowl, the 49ers, Patriots, Falcons, and Ravens will have to give every single thing that they have inside of them. Then, two weeks later, two teams will have to do it all over again.
San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers impressed during the regular season, and have now come out and done the same in the playoffs. Kaepernick is a weapon that no-one could have prepared for as they had no idea what he was really capable of. Sure, he showed signs and glimpses of it during the regular season, but nothing like he did last week in the win over the Green Bay Packers.
Atlanta has played well the entire season, but as they showed last week against Seattle, they have a tendency to rest on their leads. That sort of behavior and mindset cost them a 20-point lead and actually almost cost them the opportunity to move forward to the NFC Championship Game.
Seattle was a very good team this past year, but the 49ers are better. Atlanta won’t be able to build such a large lead on San Francisco, but they will have to play a full 60 minutes in order to hold on for the win. Be prepared for a close out and a veritable shootout.
Score Prediction: 31-30
New England is moving right along as they seem to do every single season and go deep into the playoffs. They are playing as well as they always do and know what needs to be done so that they can advance to the next round. That was proven last week when the Patriots handily defeated the Houston Texans, a team that had dominated most of the regular season.
Helping fuel the Baltimore Ravens is the fact that no-one is giving them much of a chance. Well, that and the fact that veteran linebacker Ray Lewis will be finished with his NFL career once this season is over. It appears as if the team just doesn’t want to let their longtime leader be done just yet. That is plenty of motivation, and it helped them make a miraculous comeback to defeat the mighty Denver Broncos.
That type of motivation and the intensity that is in this Ravens’ team will not only help them keep pace with Tom Brady and the Patriots, but pull off the upset of the playoffs.
Score Prediction: 28-24
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.