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NFL Playoff Schedule 2012: Both Harbaughs Will Fall in Conference Title Games

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers (L) hugs his brother head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens (R) after the Ravens defeated the 49ers 16-6 at M&T Bank Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2012

Jim and John Harbaugh have led their teams deep into the playoffs, but both will be eliminated this weekend.

Jim's San Fransisco 49ers and John's Baltimore Ravens are actually very similar. They each have an elite defense, a solid running game and, of course, a Harbaugh at the helm.

Unfortunately, this Sunday they will have another thing in common—a heartbreaking loss in a 2012 conference title game.

In the AFC Championship Game, John's Ravens have the unenviable task of facing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pss against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Patriots have been on a rampage in the second half of the season, mowing down everyone in their path. They are averaging a ridiculous 37.3 points per game during their current nine-game winning streak.

New England has won six of those nine games by 18 or more points, including their 45-10 beatdown of Denver in the divisional round.

It won't be a blowout, but I'm expecting another Patriots victory this Sunday. Brady has been dissecting teams lately, and he'll be able to find the end zone a few times against the Ravens' D.

Baltimore will likely find themselves down early and I have no faith in Joe Flacco's ability to engineer a comeback. Bill Belicheck's defense will bait him into risky throws, and when Flacco gets greedy, the Patriots will make him pay.

In the NFC Championship Game, Jim's 49ers will also have to deal with a red-hot quarterback.

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Image
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

New York's Eli Manning has been phenomenal the last three games, throwing for 953 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 69.3 percent of his passes.

San Fransisco frustrated Drew Brees in the divisional round, but this week they're facing a much more balanced offense. The Saints only ran the ball 14 times last Saturday. You can expect New York to double that number this week.

The Giants also have a major advantage thanks to their fearsome pass rush. Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck will be attacking Alex Smith all day long. Smith has protected the ball beautifully this season, but I think he'll crumble under the pressure of the Giants defense.

The Harbaugh brothers should be proud of their teams and all that they've accomplished this season. Unfortunately, the ride ends now.

Although they'd rather be working, both Harbaughs will be able to relax on Super Bowl Sunday.


Playoff Schedule

AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots Sunday, Jan 22, 3 p.m. ET on CBS.

NFC Championship Game: Giants @ 49ers Sunday, Jan 22, 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

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