The NFL Championship Round Recap

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The final four NFL teams battled it out for the right to represent their respective conferences in New Orleans, and here's how it all hashed out...

San Francisco 28 Atlanta 24

For the second straight week, the Atlanta Falcons came out swinging against their playoff opponent...and let them back in the second half. Unfortunately this time around, the Falcons couldn't stop the second half surge of the Niners. The first half was all Matt Ryan (317/3 & 1INT) and Julio Jones (8/148/ 2TDs), with the Niners having seemingly no answer for Jones. As the first half came to a close, TDs from LaMichael James and Vernon Davis closed the gap, but a TD to the ageless one, Tony Gonzalez, made it 24-14.
The second was a different story.  The Niners got their ground game going and after a sustaining drive that lead to a Frank Gore TD, Matt Ryan responded by throwing an ill advised pass that was picked off by Chris Culliver, resulting in a second Frank Gore TD...a score that wouldn't be challenged for the rest of the game. 
On the fantasy playoff league front, with the Niners advancing to the Super Bowl, Michael Crabtree is still a solid WR2 play, and an awakened giant in Vernon Davis, is a solid play as well. Wunderkind Colin Kaepernick continues to make multiplier money for you with a solid performance against Atlanta. Frank Gore still gets the lion's share of work (especially in the red zone), but LaMichael James is an interesting play in daily leagues for the Super Bowl matchup.

Baltimore 28  New England 13

The loss of Aqib Talib early in the 1st half changed the momentum in this game, as the Pats defense no longer had the luxury of a lockdown corner to shore up one side of the field. New England replaced Talib with slot corner Kyle Arrington, and the results were as expected. The Pats pass rush was too conservative and Joe Flacco was able to exploit the middle of the field with Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith. The Pats offense? The wheels came off in the second half, and Tom Brady never seemed to get it going. The Ravens capitalized on a helmet to helmet collision with Stevan Ridley and Bernard Pollard (of course) that resulted in a fumble recovery, and helped shift the momentum firmly in their favor. 
From a fantasy standpoint, Joe Flacco had a solid game, with 240 yards passing and 3 TDs. He'll be counted on heavily against the Niners, as the stout run defense will look to shut down the 1-2 punch of Rice and Pierce. Anquan Boldin had a "James Jones-like-day" with 6 catches, 2 of them TDs. He and Torrey Smith face a much tougher Niner secondary in two weeks. Dennis Pitta should be a strong play, as they Niners gave up 8/78 and 1TD to Tony Gonzales.
The Niners square off against the Ravens in New Olreans in two weeks in what's being pegged as the "Harbaugh Bowl"...because John and Jim are brothers, and people aren't that creative. Cheers.  


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