This is the week in the NFL that determines who will represent the NFC and AFC in the Super Bowl. Below is a breakdown of this week’s matchups, including our NFL picks for who will win the games outright and who will beat the football betting odds.
NFC/AFC Champion Game Picks
San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
NFL Odds: 49ers -4, Over/Under 48 ½ points
Kickoff at 3:00 PM EST
The San Francisco 49ers will meet up with the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday for the NFC Championship, with the winner also earning a trip to the Super Bowl.
The 49ers were sensational on defense all season long, as they held opponents to only 294.4 total yards and an average of 17 points per game, which was good enough for the second best defense in the NFL this season.
San Francisco, while not as good on offense was still pretty good. They put up nearly 25 points per game, which ranked them as the 11th best offense in the league.
The 49ers have covered the point spread in five of their last seven games played in the month of January and four of their last five overall versus a team with a winning record.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons are still winning and find themselves in the NFC Championship game after a stellar regular season and an amazing last second win over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs just a week ago.
The Falcons are actually more balanced as a team than the 49ers. Their average point total of 26.2 per game is good for 7th best in the NFL, while their 18.7 points against is good for the 5th best in the league.
Atlanta is 1-4 against the NFL odds in their last five home playoff games and 0-5 ATS in their last five playoff games overall.
Atlanta always seems to find a way to get it done, but not this week, as the 49ers will put an end to the Falcons run and cruise to a win and point spread cover. The next road trip for the 49ers will be to New Orleans as the NFC representative in the Super Bowl.
NFL Picks: 49ers -4
Baltimore Raven at New England Patriots
NFL Odds: Patriots -8 1/2, Over/Under 51 ½ points
Kickoff at 6:30 PM EST
Ray Lewis will have one last shot to appear in another Super Bowl as he and the Baltimore Ravens challenge the New England Patriots for the AFC crown this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The Ravens got the job done last week against the heavily favored Broncos and will hope lightning strikes twice as they are once again road underdogs looking for the straight up win, but this time they must beat the Patriots to accomplish the feat.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Patriots will look to put an end to the Ray Lewis retirement tour, while also terminating the Ravens season.
The Ravens have covered the point spread in 10 of their last 14 postseason games played on the road and are 4-1 ATS in their last five games played in the month of January.
The Patriots haven’t been to good against the NFL betting lines in the playoffs lately. In fact, they are only 2-7 ATS in their last nine postseason games played at home and 2-8 ATS in their last ten overall in the playoffs.
The Ravens seem to be a team of destiny, but I can’t see them walking into Foxborough and then walking out with a victory. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are heading to the Super Bowl after winning and covering the point spread against the Ravens in this game.
NFL Picks: Patriots – 8 ½