The NFL's version of the final four is upon us, as the NFC and AFC Championship Games get going Sunday afternoon. We've talked plenty about the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons this week. There is no need to rehash what is at stake, or what this matchup entails. I would love to see the 49ers blow it open early and cruise to an easy victory, but I don't think that happens. I will continue to think the 49ers will win, but the Falcons did not get to 13 wins by simple luck. I know some question how good they are, but 13 wins is still 13 wins.
The 49ers and Falcons will get going at noon PT on FOX with everyone's favorite announcer team: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. While I don't think Buck is a particularly good play-by-play guy, I have grown less annoyed by him. As for Troy Aikman, his Cowboys background aside, he does know his football. I'm sure plenty will disagree.
The AFC Championship Game features a rematch of last year's conference title game, once again at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens at 3:30 p.m. PT on CBS, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms handling the play-calling. While I can put up with Buck and Aikman, Nantz and Simms bug me to no end. It's something about their voices and smarminess that drives me crazy.
The Patriots should dominate this game, but I thought the same thing about the Broncos against these same Ravens. I like to focus on the logical and what the numbers can tell us, but the Ravens are putting together something that is a little bit crazy. If they beat the Patriots and the 49ers beat the Falcons, there would be a certain measure of fear about dealing with this team. I think it is based much more on the irrational, but the whole thing is crazy.
Whatever the case, we've got some great football lined up for today. Well, one of the games will be great pending the outcome!
NFC Championship: 49ers vs. Falcons | 12 p.m. PT | FOX | 49ers -4.5 | Georgia Dome
AFC Championship: Ravens vs. Patriots | 3:30 p.m. PT | CBS | Patriots -8 | Gillette Stadium