Championship Sunday: Road to the Super Bowl


(Patrick Tehan/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs for a touchdown in the third quarter as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff on Saturday, January 12, 2013.

Tyler DeBord, Business Manager

This past weekend of exciting NFL action in the divisional round of the playoffs shook up the entire outlook of the 2013 Super Bowl picture. After exciting wins by the Ravens and Falcons, we know anything can happen. Let’s take a look at how each team’s chances are this weekend.

Atlanta Falcons: The Dirty Birds are coming off a huge playoff win against the Seattle Seahawks, winning in dramatic fashion on a last second field goal by Matt Bryant. This marks the first playoff win for Atlanta in the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era, validating Ryan’s status as on the rise to an elite quarterback. The Falcons will now host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship on Sunday at 3 ET. The first half last week went very well for Atlanta, as they held a 20-0 lead on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks going into the half. Wilson would get going however, taking the lead with 31 seconds left in the game. The Falcons defense forced the Seahawks to punt only once in the 4th quarter. The so called ‘D-Block’ never came out of the locker room after the half. If they hope to have a chance at beating Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers and advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history, their defense will need to play 60 minutes. Offense will also be a huge factor for the Falcons as they will need to control the time of possession to keep Kaepernick off the field and give the defense adequate rest.

San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick shined bright in the 49ers win over the Green Bay Packers, rushing for 181 yards, an NFL playoff record. That will be a nightmare for the Falcons horrid rush defense. The read option offense will definitely pose a huge problem for this defense as they’ve had trouble with the rush all year long. The 49ers will come into Atlanta this week with passion and fury. My prediction for this game: the Falcons will come out swinging and hit the 49ers hard with the home field advantage card, but the powerful offense of San Francisco will prevail. Final Score Prediction: 49ers 31 Falcons 21.

Baltimore Ravens: This might be the best story of the postseason, as MLB Ray Lewis’ storied career comes to a close as soon as they lose. Everyone expected the Ravens to be run over and stomped in Denver last week. The Ravens came up with a huge interception of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning at midfield in the first overtime period, which led to a game winning field goal by kicker Justin Tucker. Denver had this game in the bag with 30 seconds to go, then the Broncos secondary failed to keep Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense off the board yet again when Flacco threw a Hail Mary to a wide open Jacoby Jones, as he basically walked into the end zone. This pass and catch is now dubbed the Rocky Mountain Rainbow and will always be remembered. The Ravens now have to move on and focus on their next opponent, the vaunted New England Patriots. They will need  to move on quick if they hope to give New England a good fight. This game will depend on the Ravens defense to keep them in the game.

New England Patriots: Unlike the other teams listed above, the Patriots cruised to victory over the Houston Texans. Tom Brady played as expected and earned the 17th playoff victory of his career. New England’s keys to the game will rely on what they do best, the passing game. If Brady and the offense can yet again turn in another great performance, the Patriots should have no trouble getting to Super Bowl XLVII. It’s simple, all the Patriots must do to win this game is do the little things right. Joe Flacco and the Ravens are no pushover, so if the New England wants to win they need to execute. I believe this will be closer than the experts think. Final Score Prediction: Patriots 34 Ravens 27.

Predictions are in and ready to go. If these come true, the Patriots and the 49ers will meet in Super Bowl XLVII. An interesting matchup indeed. Offense would reign supreme in this matchup, but not too much scoring would take place which would make for a very exciting finish to the 2012 NFL season. It may be too early to tell, but a prediction for this game is imminent. Super Bowl XLVII Final Score Prediction: Patriots 27 49ers 24.