About Baltimore Sun staff picks:
Each week, Sun columnists and NFL reporters will pick games (not against the spread)
Last week: 2-2
49ers 27, Falcons 21: Colin Kaepernick's made a believer out of me. He's fast, smart and a winner. Better yet he's on a roll. That was a Mona Lisa of a game the 49ers QB turned in against the Green Bay Packers last week: 181 yards rushing and 263 yards passing for two touchdowns. He's too much for the Falcons "D" to handle.
Patriots 30, Ravens 21: Ravens go into this game with enormous confidence. But Tom Brady to Wes Welker is a tough combination to beat, especially at Gillette Stadium. And now the Pats actually have a running game with Stevan Ridley (1,263 yards rushing in the regular season) and Shane Vereen. Ravens will need more than emotion from Ray Lewis' "last ride" to neutralize Vince Wilfork in the middle of the Patriots "D" line, too.
Last week: 2-2
49ers 37, Falcons 21: The Colin Kaepernick Express ran through the Green Bay Packers and should find another willing partner in the Atlanta Falcons, especially if defensive end John Abraham isn't 100 percent. Jim Harbaugh will get to the Super Bowl before his older brother does.
Patriots 24, Ravens 20: The Ravens are the only defense that has forced Tom Brady into more interceptions than touchdown passes, but the New England Patriots quarterback is 5-2 against the Ravens. Make it 6-2 as the Patriots will go to the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
Last week: 4-0
49ers 35, Falcons 28: After watching the 49ers play last week, they might be the best team in the NFL. The 49ers are physical on defense and they have a running game similar to the old Green Bay Packers in the 1960's. Plus, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh does a good job with formations and scheming things up. It's time for the Harbaugh Bowl.
Ravens 31, Patriots 28: The Patriots have a lot of things working in their favor. They are at home where they have been nearly invinciable. They have the NFL's best head coach and top quarterback, but I'm not sure their resolve is as great as the Ravens. The Pats were the Big Game last year and the Ravens haven't been to the Super Bowl since 2000. Quarterback Joe Flacco and the offensive line are hot, and desire and the law of averages should put the Ravens over the top.