Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Championship weekend
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Last week: 2-2 (.500)
Season record: 166-98 (.629)
San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1) at Atlanta Falcons (14-3), 3 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Forget about first-time playoff performances. What Colin Kaepernick did against the Green Bay Packers will go down as the maybe the greatest performance by any quarterback in any playoff game -- period. If the Falcons can't come up with a better plan to defend him than the Packers, or at least make the adjustments that the Packers failed to make, the Georgia Dome will go quiet in a hurry.
The 49ers' biggest chore will be stopping the Falcons offense that put up 30 points on the stingiest defense in the league last week. But I ask you, do you really want to see the 49ers have a chance to tie the Steelers with six Super Bowl victories? Or have both Harbaughs in the Super Bowl? Well ...
Prediction: 49ers, 34-30
Baltimore Ravens (12-6) at New England Patriots (13-4), 6:30 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Who will drop the pass this year to end the Ravens season? At what point will Joe Flacco make the throw that causes people to question his ability, never mind what he has been able to accomplish in the postseason?
Based on what has transpired the past two weeks, it's not going to happen.
More than any of the four remaining teams, the Ravens are the one that appear to have fate on their side, destiny in their future. It's not just the Ray Lewis thing that is starting to look a lot like what happened to the Steelers in 2005 with Jerome Bettis. They have big-time playmakers on every level of their offense and defense, guys who have an uncanny ability to change the game when it matters most. They will hang around the Patriots like a dog waiting for table scraps, and then they will strike in some form of improbable way. Just ask the Broncos, who are still stunned.
Prediction: Ravens, 33-31
First Published January 15, 2013 7:53 pm