4th and Goal: Conference Championships

4 Questions about this week's action that must be asked.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

What must Baltimore do to slow down Tom Brady?

This is simple as much like what the 49ers did to Drew Brees last week, the Ravens have to get pressure on Brady early and put him on his butt. Allowing a QB as great as Brady to get comfortable throwing the ball will only lead to an exit from this postseason. All being said though, this is going to be one tall order for a defense that is getting a little long in the tooth (ie, old) and has only feasted, sack wise, on teams that are banged up or inferior.

 

Is New England's "D" for real after the performance it showed last week?

One good game does not a great defense make but it's closer to real than it was. New Englands D was able to do last week what Pittsburgh's should have been in their complete domination of Tim Tebow. They made him, and his team, look like second rate players who were just there for the paycheck. This week, against a versatile Baltimore offense, it won't be quite as easy pickings but then again, it's just Joe Flacco they are going against, not Joe Montana.

 

Can San Francisco put up over 20 points against that improved Giants' "D"?

The Giants defense, while playing lights out for about 4 weeks, is not an elite defense so if San Fran loosens up the reigns a bit on Alex Smith, then over 20 points is more than possible. For one, they just may need the points because this could very well become a shootout considering how hot Eli Manning is playing right now. San Fran must be careful, however, not to lose its identity just because of a little success in the passing game.

 

Will Eli Manning top his brother's fame with a win over the 49ers?

Even with a win, it will be very difficult to put Eli up there with Peyton. Peyton's total mastery of the offensive end and his command combined with length of success makes it very hard for any QB to match up, let alone his little brother. However, Eli has been closing the gap and another huge road playoff win will do a lot to show that any Manning, whether it's Peyton or Eli, is a QB not to be messed with.

 

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