It's Conference Championship Weekend in the 2012 NFL Playoffs and waiting on the other end of Sunday is the Super Bowl XLVI matchup. Out of the four teams, only the New York Giants had to play in each of the previous two weekends. They beat the Atlanta Falcons in the Wild Card Round and then upset the 15-1 Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. They will face the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's late game as slight underdogs, but that is the game far more likely to have an upset.
Awaiting the victor of that game will be either the Baltimore Ravens or the New England Patriots. Both teams are looking for their first Super Bowl appearances since each team played against the New York Giants in the big game (2001 for the Ravens, 2008 for the Patriots).
New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith has turned into one of the great heroes of the 2011 season, especially after leading two scoring drives against the New Orleans last week, pulling off the late upset. But Eli Manning has been too good this postseason, and the pass rushers his team has on defense should be able to get to Alex Smith often (Aaron Rodgers was sacked four times last week). PICK: GIANTS
Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots: The Ravens aren't the Denver Broncos that the Patriots faced last week, which makes this a bit tougher of a contest. Tom Brady likely won't be able to throw six touchdown passes again, but Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez should still provide matchup problems for the Ravens' linebackers and safeties. Plus, Joe Flacco has plenty of issues playing against the Patriots. PICK: PATRIOTS