When the Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks, they earned the first playoff win for both Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez. The entire franchise was able to breathe a sigh of relief, but will need to re-focus with San Francisco up next. With the winner heading to the Super Bowl, Atlanta must be careful to not suffer an emotional let down, and will face even more pressure as the stakes have been raised.
The 6-9 Chargers have failed to make the playoffs for a third straight year. Head coach Norv Turner will likely not return for the 2013 campaign. San Diego is led by quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Ryan Mathews, receiver Malcom Floyd, and tight end Antonio Gates.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are hobbling to Oakland with injuries on both sides of the ball. The Raiders are hoping to take advantage of that situation, but they’re going to have to do all they can to get ahead early and stay there.
The 49ers and the Lions meet on Sunday in a battle of two the NFC’s best. The Lions are led by quarterback Matt Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson on offense and their defense has one of the best defensive tackles in the game in Ndamukong Suh. While both teams are talented, the 49ers will be able to rely on their experience and mental toughness to wear out and outlast Detroit.
The San Francisco 49ers do not have the luxury of easing into the 2012 season. First up on the schedule is the Green Bay Packers, a team with multiple Pro Bowlers on both sides of the ball, yet it’s their offense that steals the show.
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