2013 NFL Power Rankings | Conference Championship Edition
It’s Conference Championship weekend and even though my Steelers failed to make the game, I’m still excited. The AFC and NFC Championships may not be the biggest games, but they can often be better than the Super Bowl itself.
Three of the four teams playing this weekend were in the same position last year, with the only newcomer being the Falcons. Last year’s Ravens-Patriots game was a thriller right up to the final seconds. Let’s hope that this Sunday provides all the top-notch football action that we expect.
1. San Francisco 49ers (2012 Regular Season Rank: 4): I may not agree with how Harbaugh handled Alex Smith, but if they win the NFC Championship then most fans will say “no harm, no foul.” I do not expect Kaepernick to run all over the Georgia Dome, but the threat should be enough to loosen up the Falcons’ coverage. There could be some big plays to be had; maybe it’s time to unleash Randy Moss!
2. New England Patriots (2): It pains me (sometimes) to say it, but the Patriots are good…damn good. In the recent past, they have struggled a bit against the Ravens’ defense. But with seemingly ten-thousand weapons on offense, it should take more than what the 2012 Ravens can muster to stop the Pats from back-to-back Super Bowl trips.
3. Atlanta Falcons (5): Okay, so they have removed the proverbial monkey off their back, but moral victories do not mean much in the NFL. It is Super Bowl or bust for Atlanta. If the crowd can affect Kaepernick (a la Seattle’s 12th man) and the offense can avoid turnovers and set the tone early, then the Falcons may just get there.
4. Baltimore Ravens (10): The Ravens seem to have rallied around Ray Lewis and his pending retirement. I’m sure they are the worst of the remaining playoff teams, but their defense matches up well against the Patriots. If they can turn a couple of turnovers into points early on, don’t be surprised if they walk out of Foxboro with tickets to the Super Bowl.