It's a game of multiple perspectives. On one hand, the Broncos throttled the Ravens, 34-17, in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Denver's defense suffocated Baltimore's reeling offense, holding them to 278 yards (the bulk of which came when the game was out of reach) and a miserable 1-for-12 performance on third down.
While quarterback Peyton Manning is 9-2 against the Ravens in his career, with two of those coming in the postseason, he hasn't been nearly the same passer against Baltimore in the postseason that he has against nearly every other team in the league. He has three interceptions in those two playoff games, and a 68.3 passer rating.
Interestingly, his counterpart, Joe Flacco, threw two interceptions against Manning's Colts in the 2009 wild card playoffs, and Indianapolis took a comfortable 20-3 victory.
Baltimore was plenty banged up heading into their Week 15 game against Denver, and played without strong safety Bernard Pollard, right guard Marshal Yanda and tight end Ed Dickson. It was also the first game for new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who replaced Cam Cameron after Baltimore's Week 14 loss to Washington.
The 49ers used their ground-and-pound rushing attack and outstanding defense to score a 30-22 win over Green Bay. At the time, few would have been surprised to know these teams would meet again in the postseason.
It didn't start that way this year for the Packers, however. After dropping three of five to start the year, the Packers rattled off nine wins in their final 11 regular season games to repeat as NFC North champions. They dismantled an undermanned Minnesota team in the wild card round, setting up a second shot at the 49ers.
The Packers have both Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson back together, something that happened in frequently this year, but the 49ers will have back defensive end Justin Smith from a triceps injury. He missed the team's last two games, but still led them with eight tackles for loss.
Kickoff from Candlestick Park in San Francisco is set for 6 p.m. MT.