Jan 22, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball as he is pressured by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis (52) in the first quarter during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

NFC and AFC Championships Are Set Following Thrilling Divisional Round


Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) calls signals at the line of scrimmage against the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter of the NFC divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Conference Championship matchups are set after a ridiculously exciting Divisional round weekend.  In the NFC, it will be the top seeded Atlanta Falcons hosting the San Francisco 49ers.  The Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game after the surging Seattle Seahawks overcame a 20-point 4th quarter deficit to take a late lead, but gave Matt Ryan enough time to get the Falcons into field goal range for Matt Bryant to hit the 49-yard game winner.

For the San Francisco 49ers, it wasn’t quite as stressful, but it was plenty impressive.  Colin Kaepernick had a record setting day as he led the Niners in both passing and rushing with a pair of touchdowns of each as they ousted the Packers from the playoffs at the Divisional round for the second straight year.

Over in the AFC, the surprise team remaining is the Baltimore Ravens, who pulled off a big upset over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.  Denver’s defense gave up an inexcusable 70-yard bomb inside of the last minute to force Overtime.  It took into the second quarter of OT for the game to be decided after a Peyton Manning interception yet up the Ravens for the decisive score.

The snore of the weekend went to the New England Patriots, who steamrolled the Houston Texans to set themselves up to host the AFC Championship game.  The Texans just couldn’t keep up with Tom Brady and the Pats’ potent offense.

Next weekend, the Niners travel to Atlanta as a rare road favorite in the battle of the NFC’s top seeds.   The big focus will be on Atlanta’s defense and if they can slow down Colin Kaepernick, the dual threat who can kill you with the read-option.

The AFC Championship will be the prime time game as the Ravens try to continue their improbable run and extend Ray Lewis’ career and take him to the Super Bowl in his swan song vs the Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game.    Heading into New England will be a tough task, as Tom Brady will look to pick apart the Ravens’ aging defense.  The Ravens actually beat the Pats earlier this season, so you never know what can happen.\

The bar has been set pretty high after a ridiculous football weekend.  Can the Championship round match the thrills and excitement of the Divisional round?  Who do you think goes to the Super Bowl?  Let’s see your comments.

Tags: Afc Championship Chicago Bears Nfc Championship