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article imageNFL: 49ers-Falcons on Sunday 3 p.m., Patriots-Ravens 6:30 p.m. ET

By David Silverberg     Jan 14, 2013 in Sports
The AFC and NFC championship games, the last step towards reaching the Super Bowl, will be broadcast on Sunday starting at 3 p.m. ET, when the San Francisco 49ers battle the Atlanta Falcons. New England and Baltimore will duke it out at 6:30 p.m. ET
Call Sunday January 20 a truly Super Sunday, but perhaps not the ultimate Sunday. While the Super Bowl will be played Feb. 3 in New Orleans, next week's final NFL playoffs games before the Big Dance is poised to give fans hours of entertaining football.
San Francisco returns to the NFC championship game for the second year in a row, this time squaring off against the offensively-aggressive Atlanta Falcons. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick is coming off an astounding win against Green Bay, where he rushed for 180 yards. ESPN notes he became the first player since 1960 to finish a game with at least two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, 260 yards passing and 180 yards rushing.
The Falcons are rounding the corner on a scary matchup against Seattle, where they just eked out a last-second win. QB Matt Ryan has been connecting with most of his pass attempts, racking up 2,100 yards in the past eight games. Atlanta usually doesn't fare so well in the playoffs, though; their Seattle win was their first W in the playoffs in the past three years.
The Atlanta-San Fran game will be broadcast on FOX at 3 p.m. ET.
After the NFC game, the AFC powerhouses clash at Gillette Stadium in New England when the Patriots meet the defensively-minded Baltimore Ravens. They met at last year's conference title game, and are known to be bitter enemies. USA Today outlines other sub-plots: "It feels like more than a trip to Super Bowl XLVII is on the line here. Brady is still chasing that fourth ring that would pull him even with Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, his boyhood idol...the Ravens are losing their soul with Lewis' looming retirement and would like nothing more than to send him into the sunset with a second ring. The franchise has weathered the loss of patriarch Art Modell and Smith's family tragedy in recent months as well. Throw in Flacco's desire to secure a long-term contract and stamp himself as an elite quarterback, and it's obvious how many purple chips Baltimore has on the table."
At 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS will broadcast the AFC Championship game.
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