49ers return to Championship game

18 January 2013 04:39:22 GMTPlus11

The San Francisco 49ers make the long journey to Atlanta this weekend to face the Falcons in the NFC Championship game.

Jim Harbaugh will hope the 49ers can come out on top against Atlanta.

Jim Harbaugh's side, losers in overtime last year at this point to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, are a vastly different side with the emergence of second year pro Colin Kaepernick at quarterback in place of Alex Smith.

The former Nevada star announced himself to the nation last weekend with 263-yards passing and 181 more on the ground in a 45-31 defeat of the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Crafting a defensive scheme to stop Kaepernick will be a challenge for the Falcons who nonetheless were one of only four teams in the NFL, the Niners, Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears being the other three, who held their opponents to less than 300 points over the course of the season.

San Francisco's NFC Division title is much more impressive this year than last when the 49ers had a soft schedule. This year Harbaugh's side had games on the road against the likes of the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers and that tough schedule is likely to be of benefit when playing in the hostile environment of the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

A general overview of their respective schedules and opponents would give the 49ers the clear advantage over the Falcons except for the anomaly that is the New York Giants.

San Francisco fell at home once more to the G-Men while Atlanta blanked the visitors in their signature victory of the season.

The 49ers areĀ 1/2 to win the game, while the Falcons can be backed at 17/10.

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