Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Westside

January 18, 2013

NFL Championship preview

— Although the Indianapolis Colts fell from the playoffs in the first round, NFL action did move on. This weekend marks the arrival of the AFC and NFC Championship, coming with great anticipation as the season winds down and the Super Bowl teams are revealed.

But first, two games must be played this Sunday to determine who will stay home and who moves on to New Orleans, home of the 47th Super Bowl.

Three of the four teams playing in this weekend’s championship games were in the same position last year, with New England the only one to make it to the Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons, 3 p.m. Sunday

San Francisco heads to its second NFC Championship game in consecutive seasons as they travel to Atlanta. Last year, the New York Giants bounced the 49ers from the playoffs en route to a Super Bowl win over New England.

Unlike the AFC match up, these two teams do not have a significant postseason history. The Falcons and 49ers have met just once in the postseason, a 20-18 Falcons victory in 1999.

The two squads do have significant regular season history though, with San Francisco holding a 44-30-1 edge over Atlanta. The teams last met in 2010 with the Falcons taking a 16-14 victory.

This is the first time the 49ers have been in back-to-back NFC Championship games since their three-year run from 1992-94 against the Dallas Cowboys. It’s the first NFC Championship game for the Falcons since losing to the Carolina Panthers in 2004. Atlanta has also been to one other NFC Championship game in 1998.

Statistically, San Francisco looks a bit better with its No. 3-rated defense and 11th-ranked offense compared to Atlanta’s eighth-ranked offense and No. 24-rated defense.

On paper, this game looks like it should boil down to Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense versus the 49ers defense, but it could be Atlanta’s defense against San Francisco’s offense. The Falcons could have a difficult time stopping the read-option look from the 49ers’ Colin Kapernick.

The 49ers come into the contest red-hot offensively after blistering the Green Bay Packers last week for 579 yards of offense. In that win, San Francisco became the first NFL postseason team to have two rushers over 100 yards (Kapernick, Frank Gore) and a 100-yard receiver (Michael Crabtree).

Atlanta boasts an offense led by Ryan and a tandem of the NFL’s most productive receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones along with tight end Tony Gonzalez.

A win by the 49ers would put them into their first Super Bowl since the 1989 season — San Francisco is 4-0 in franchise history in Super Bowls — and it would be Atlanta’s second Super Bowl appearance. The Falcons lost to Denver, 34-19 in the 1998 season.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots, 6:30 p.m. Sunday

In a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game, there is no love lost between these two teams or their respective fan bases. That alone makes this an interesting match up.

But it goes deeper than just that as this should prove to be a great contest. Tthe Ravens are on a roll heading into Foxborough and have given the Patriots fits in their past few meetings.

The two squads have met seven times in the regular season with New England taking all of them except for the last one, a 31-30 thriller on Sunday Night Football in Baltimore this season. The Ravens came back from nine points down in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

The two teams have met twice in the postseason, resulting in a 1-1 split. In the 2009 season, Baltimore came into New England and laid down a dominating 33-14 win over the Patriots. Last season, New England escaped with a 23-20 victory as Baltimore receiver Lee Evans dropped a sure touchdown pass in the closing seconds, followed by a missed field attempt by Billy Cundiff that would have sent the game into overtime. Neither player is with the Ravens this season.

Statistically, it looks as if New England has the upper hand. The Patriots bring the No. 1- ranked offense into the game against the No.17-rated defense. Baltimore’s offense is ranked 16th while its defense is 17th.

Baltimore is riding a hot streak through the playoffs, seemingly inspired by linebacker Ray Lewis’ retirement announcement. The Baltimore defense has fought injuries all season, but has recovered over the last six games, giving up the fourth fewest yards during that span.

This game pits the second best red zone touchdown defense (Baltimore, 43.7 percent) in the league against the No. 1 touchdown scoring offense (New England, 69.74 percent).

Whatever the outcome, this game should have its share of fireworks pitting Tom Brady and the high-powered New England offense against Lewis and the Ravens’ defense.

It is Baltimore’s third trip to the AFC Championship in the last five years and New England’s sixth in the last 10 seasons.

With a win, the Patriots will advance to their eighth Super Bowl. Dallas and Pittsburgh are the only other franchises with eight appearances to the big game.

This is the first time since Dallas and San Francisco met in consecutive championship games from 1992 to ‘94 that two divisional teams have met in consecutive seasons.

1
Text Only
Westside
  • WSF 4-22 news ims egg hunt pic 1 Easter in the fast lane SPEEDWAY — On Saturday, the community got a chance to hunt for Easter eggs inside of one of the most famous race tracks in the world: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The IMS Easter Egg hunt, which is in its fourth year, took place from 10 a.m

    April 19, 2014 5 Photos

  • HCF 4-16 ent myers dinner theatre pic 1 Myers Dinner Theatre announces next show "The Dixie Theatre Goes Vegas!" opens April 25 at Myers Dinner Theatre. The comedic sequel to last season's "The Dixie Theatre's First-Ever Gospel Sing" runs through May 17. Performances are primarily on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, and Friday

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chamber to host forum on Affordable Care Act The Westside Chamber of Commerce will host a forum on the effects of the new Affordable Care Act on small and medium-sized businesses and what can be expected. The forum is set for 8:30 a.m. April 25 at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, 2930 W

    April 16, 2014

  • Verizon offers tips to stop distracted driving April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Verizon Wireless suggests some simple tips for consumers to put into practice. Nearly 57 percent of U.S. drivers admit to texting while driving. To help resist the temptation to text or talk on the phon

    April 16, 2014

  • WSF 4-15 spt bd bb pic-2 Brownsburg downs Ben Davis BROWNSBURG -- Behind a couple of offensive spurts and a pair of home runs, host Brownsburg defeated Ben Davis 10-0 in five innings on Wednesday. "We got off to a little bit of a sluggish start and their pitcher kept us off balance a little bit," Brow

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSF 4-15 news seed festival pix Students get a taste for science It's hands-on learning at its finest: students getting a chance to put their hands in the soil, watch plants grow, and take a field trip to the global headquarters of a company that's a world leader in crop protection and biotechnology products. For

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bed and breakfast hosts Kaffe Klutchs on April 17 Renate Swope, owner of Renata's Bed & Breakfast, will begin hosting Kaffe Klutchs from noon to 3 p.m. April 17. This is the first of many German-style coffee and cake time events at the bed and breakfast. Participants will be able to enjoy coffee, te

    April 15, 2014

  • Registration opens for Eagle Creek Park Kids Fishing Derby The Eagle Creek Park Foundation is hosting its 13th annual Kids Fishing Derby from 8 a.m. to noon June 7 at Eagle Creek Park's Coffer Dam, at the first right south of the 71st Street gate on the city's northwest side. The family-friendly event is fre

    April 15, 2014

  • WSF 4-15 spt bd sb pic-1 Bulldogs rout Giants The Brownsburg softball team played a well-rounded game in Wednesday's 15-0 five-inning beating of Ben Davis. Brownsburg had 13 hits and five walks at the plate, and yielded just two hits defensively. "We had some timely hits and made plays in the fi

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSF 4-15 news eagle creek clean up 1 Volunteers spruce up area around Eagle Creek Park Several volunteers took advantage of the nice weather this past weekend to pick up trash at Eagle Creek Park during the Great Indy Cleanup. The Great Indy Cleanup is a program of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. It's an anti-litter program in partnership

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

New poll question: Will you be attending this year’s Indianapolis 500?

Yes
No
Undecded
     View Results
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read