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AFC, NFC Championships Match-Ups to Watch

Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Sunday, there will be two teams left that will play in the Super Bowl in two weeks in New Orleans at the Superdome. The AFC and NFC will crown a champion on Sunday and here are a few match-ups that could impact the outcome of the conference championships.

AFC: Baltimore at New England

Baltimore appears to be a team of destiny after knocking off the Denver Broncos in the Mile High City in double overtime when Justin Tucker hit game winning field goal to knock of the AFC’s number one seed. Baltimore will have their hands full as they go into Foxboro a year later after Billy Cundiff missed a game-tying field goal last year.

This time, though, Baltimore has momentum and everyone is believing. Even, the owner is after he texted coach John Harbaugh in the fourth quarter to do the impossible.

Baltimore has perhaps the hottest quarterback in the playoffs – Joe Flacco. Flacco’s highlight of playoffs came on a throw to Jacoby Jones for a 70 yard scoring play to tie the game and send the game into overtime last Saturday. Flacco has thrown for 613 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions, and has averaged a quarterback rating of 120.9 in two playoff games.

The Patriots, meanwhile, used a different approach last week when they used a ground attack to beat the Texans. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen ran for 133 total yards and two touchdowns in the game. Tom Brady still was a force in the playoffs throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The key match-up to watch is the Baltimore’s Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones against the Patriots secondary. Aqib Talib, Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson will have their hands full as Flacco was beating Champ Bailey and Rahim Moore last weekend.

NFC: San Francisco at Atlanta

The 49ers Colin Kaepernick had a pretty stellar first playoff start as he ran all over the Green Bay Packers defense. He ran for 181 yards and two scores and passed for 263 yards and two scores as well.

Meanwhile, Atlanta built a early 20-0 lead and it appeared they were going to run all over the Seahawks. Then, Russell Wilson nearly pulled the upset, but Matt Bryant hit a game-winning field goal to send the Falcons to the NFC Championship game.

The Falcons biggest task will be containing Kaepernick and the 49ers read-option offense. Atlanta has played its fair share against mobile quarterbacks and fared good and bad. The Falcons allowed 394 rushing yards to Cam Newton in two games, but gave up seven rushing yards to Robert Griffin III (he did leave game early). Last week, they gave up 46 yards to Marshawn Lynch and sixty yards and a touchdown to Russell Wilson.

The NFL playoffs has been must watch television so far and I am sure the AFC and NFC championships won’t disappoint.

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