By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) It’s not hyperbolic to say the last weekend’s Divisional round was the best in NFL history. A double-overtime thriller, a last-second field goal, and a record-setting performance by a quarterback making his first playoff start, left fans abuzz. Here’s my take on how the Championship round will play out.
(Home team in all CAPS)
49ers 27, FALCONS 20 – 2 PM
Please, spare me mentions of “monkeys off backs” and Matt Ryan “exercising playoff demons.” The Falcons were the same team they’ve been all season, one that can stagger an opponent with a jab, but can’t deliver the knockout blow. When you jump out to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter at home, there’s no reason for the game to come down to a last-second field goal. That won’t work against the 49ers. I underestimated Colin Kaepernick, and overestimated Dom Capers, who was completely out-schemed. I anticipate big games from the 49ers tight ends, as they hoist the Halas Trophy.
PATRIOTS 31, Ravens 24 – 4:30 PM
Given the relative ease he’s demonstrated throughout his career, I’m still in utter disbelief of the decision Peyton Manning made at the end of the Ravens game. Alas, what’s done is done and now it’s Tom Brady’s turn to put an end to Ray Lewis’ run. When these two teams met in Week 3, the Patriots dominated every aspect of the game except the scoreboard. The key to defeating the Ravens is keeping their dynamic, disruptive pass rushers – Paul Kruger, Terrell Suggs – out of the box and in getting them into coverage. Watching the Patriots dissect the Texans defense by creating advantageous matchups, I expect more of the same this week.
Dan Durkin joined The Score’s columnist community after finishing runner-up in the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he was a member of the men’s football team (despite his best efforts to join the women’s team). Dan is a longtime Scorehead, known as Dan in Wicker Park – even though he no longer resides in Wicker Park – who will be sharing NFL analysis and opinions. You can follow Dan on Twitter @djdurkin. To read more of Dan’s blogs click here.