NFL Divisional Championship preview
Atlanta Falcons vs San Francisco 49ers – Live ESPN Monday at 9am
The Falcons finally got a recent monkey of their back with a playoff win, against a plucky Seattle team. It was a nail biter by the end, however the Falcons who were up 20-0 at halftime should have won comfortably. Two big plays by Quarterback Matty “Ice” Ryan got them into a position for a field goal and the win. This week though they will be a rare underdog at home. The San Francisco 49ers come to Georgia Dome coming off a great win over the Green Bay packers where their Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a coming out party scoring two rushing touchdowns and throwing for two. The 49ers were a dropped punt away from going to the Superbowl last year and will not want to fall again at the final hurdle. Seen as one of the NFL’s more complete teams on both offence and defence the 49ers on paper go into this game as a worthy favourite. The Falcons will have learnt a lot last week and know that they will have to be at their very best. The home crowd will give them all the motivation they need however it’s a matter of how they respond to the pressure that will count.
Pick – San Francisco in a closer game then many are predicting
New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens – Live ESPN Monday at 12.30pm
This in an exact repeat of last season’s AFC Divisional game, where a missed Ravens field goal gave the Patriots the win. The Ravens legendary line backer, Ray Lewis, made sure his farewell tour kept rolling with a stunning win over the Denver Broncos. Their weapons at wide receiver in Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones really showed up and made massive plays. Quarterback Joe Flacco was at his best in the frigid Denver weather. The Patriots had the easiest win score wise in last week’s playoffs against the Houston Texans however it came at a cost, with star tight end Rob Gronkowski breaking his arm, and now out for what is left of the season. The Ravens had a one point win against the Patriots at their ground in the regular season and always seem to lift themselves for this match up. Last year’s loss will be on their minds however Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady can throw a pass through the eye of a literal needle so their defence will have to be at their best. The Ravens have publicly stated they do not fear the Patriots. This game could be tense.
Pick – Tough to call – the Ravens could make amends for last season’s disappointment