The NFL season is down to its final three games (not counting next week's Pro Bowl) with both the AFC and NFC Championships this Sunday and Super Bowl XLVII on Feb.3. While we are all painfully aware of the fact that the Eagles' season ended before it ever really began, the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons are the two teams left in the NFC battling it out for a spot in the big game.
The 49ers started this season as one of the odds-on-favorites to win the conference and Atlanta was clearly the best team in the NFC in terms of wins and losses with overall record of 13-3. In fact, this is the first time in recent memory that the top two seeds met in the NFC title game.
San Francisco comes into this matchup as a four-point favorite on the road and for good reason. It ran all over Green Bay last week in a shockingly easy 45-31 victory erasing any memory of a couple of shaky performances down the stretch in the regular season. Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick looked like the second coming of Steve Young and the 49ers' defense showed everyone why it is one of the best in the NFL by coming up with a couple of big plays when it needed to the most.
Atlanta is just plain lucky to even be in this game after blowing a 20-point lead against Seattle last week. It needed a last minute field goal to squeak-out a 30-28 victory over the Seahawks in a bold attempt to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Falcons are a very good team on paper, but too often they play not to lose as opposed to playing to win. This weakness is bound to surface against a 49ers' team that is still bitter over last season's loss to the Giants in the conference title game.
While it is pretty obvious which way I am leaning in this game, if you are interested in reading my complete preview and prediction for this matchup click the link below for my recent post on Bang the Book.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons NFC Championship Free Pick