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Playoffs Preview- NFC Championship Game

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Mike Smith

After one of the most exciting divisional round weekends NFL history, the Playoffs continue this week with the conference Championship games.

The NFC Championship Game sees the top two seeds go head-to-head in Atlanta as the number 2 seed San Francisco 49ers take on the number 1 seed Falcons.

So without further ado, here are is my preview and prediction for the big game.

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons

Keys to the Game

Offense

49ers Passing Game

Colin Kapernick

  • The 49ers running game is a constant threat for their opponents with a rushing attack that was the fifth best in the league this season. Led by veteran running back Frank Gore and behind a solid offensive line, the 49ers can depend on Gore and co. in the run game to be successful but it’s their passing game which is the key issue tomorrow night.
  • 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fantastic last week in their win over the Green Bay Packers with four total touchdowns and over 400 total yards. Now the pressure is on Kapernick to reproduce this week against a struggling Falcons pass defense who will certainly provide plenty of opportunities for targets like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.

Falcons Running Game

Michael Turner

  • Looking at the Falcons offense now and its the running game that needs to step up and produce. The Falcons were the fourth worst team running the football this year after veteran starter Michael Turner failed to pass the 1,000 barrier for the first time since the 2009 season.
  • The Falcons face another difficult rush defense this week against a 49ers defense led by by their Pro Bowl pair of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman at middle linebacker. If the rushing attack fails to get going for Atlanta, this piles the pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan in the passing game and Ryan is coming off his first ever 200 yard passing performance in the Playoffs.

Defense

49ers Pass Rush

Aldon Smith

  • With Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan putting on poor performances in Playoff football throughout his career (six interceptions in four fames) the last thing he needs is to be facing this ferocious 49ers pass rush. Led by All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the Niners pass rush will look to put pressure on Ryan early and often in this one.

Falcons Linebackers

Sean Weatherspoon

  • If the Falcons are going to have any chance of stopping the 49ers running game, they will need the help of their linebackers to combat the Niners running duo of Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. Look for linebacker Sean Waetherspoon to be given the role of playing quarterback spy on obvious passing downs to prevent Kaepernick from taking off and running.

Prediction

Jim Harbaugh

It all comes down to the number 1 and number 2 seeds for the NFC Championship Game tomorrow night.
After knocking off my preseason pick for the Super Bowl title last week, I think the 49ers will win this one and advance to a Super Bowl of their own.
49ers 26 Falcons 17

So that’s my breakdown of the game.

Feel free to have your say in the comment section below and for more Playoff updates, follow me on Twitter.

Follow @PodgeOH

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Week 11 Scores- Late Games

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Tom Brady

Tonight’s late games have just finished and so here are the scores:

New Orleans Saints 38 Oakland Raiders 17

San Diego Chargers 23 Denver Broncos 30

Indianapolis Colts 24 New England Patriots 59

Baltimore Ravens 13 Pittsburgh Steelers 10

Monday Night Football

Michael Crabtree

Tomorrow’s Monday Night Football matchup sees the 7-2 Chicago Bears travel to San Francisco to take on the 6-2-1 49ers.

A full preview of that game will be posted tomorrow.

Highlights from all this week’s games are available here- http://www.nfl.com/videos

Follow @PodgeOH

Written by podgeoh92

November 19, 2012 at 9:28 am