Super Bowl 2013: Why San Francisco 49ers Are Destined for Sixth Lombardi Trophy
The San Francisco 49ers knocked off the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round and will similarly do the same to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game on their way to the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy.
With things falling into place after a great performance in the Divisional Round, there is little that can stop the 49ers at this point.
Although they won't admit it, the 49ers got fairly lucky to avoid the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, they would have loved to prove they are the better team after the Seahawks dominated them 42-13 in Week 16, but the Seahawks' similar style of play would have given them a great shot against the 49ers.
That's not to say the Falcons are a pushover. Against the Seahawks, they showed an ability to dominate a football game (for a half) and then the ability to overcome the adversity of facing another playoff loss.
Their offense and home-field advantage will be a tough match for San Francisco, but the 49ers are just playing too well on both sides of the ball.
Colin Kaepernick played out of his mind against the Packers, although the Packers defense seemed to help him out by avoiding him at all costs. It wasn't just the 181 rushing yards, the 263 passing yards or the blazing 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that was so impressive. It was the way in which Kaepernick did it all that should worry the Atlanta Falcons and the two remaining AFC opponents.
He played with incredible poise throughout the evening. He followed up his game-opening interception with confidence in his abilities and the coaching staff throughout. On third downs, he was lights-out as the 49ers converted eight of 13 opportunities.
While Kaepernick deserves a lot of credit for their success, the 49ers coaching staff also deserves quite a bit. They called a beautiful game and attacked the Packers weaknesses from the opening kickoff until the end of the game.
The Packers hadn't seen much zone read this season so the 49ers used Kaepernick's athletic ability, taking what was a supplement to their offense and using it repeatedly. They will certainly try to do something similar against Atlanta and whichever AFC team they play in the Super Bowl.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have plenty to work with in creating a game plan. If the Falcons try to take away Kaepernick's scrambling ability and shut down Frank Gore, the passing attack can get the job done with help from Michael Crabtree's emergence and Randy Moss' re-emergence.
On the other side of the ball, their physical defense is too much for the Falcons, the New England Patriots or the Baltimore Ravens. While much of the NFL has gone away from wanting to play physical, smash-mouth football, the 49ers embrace it. The Ravens will try to give the 49ers a physical game should they meet, but the 49ers are at a higher level of physical play than the Ravens.
As Justin Smith gets more used to playing with a brace on his arm, he should have more success and open things up for Aldon Smith. That will make it easier for the 49ers cornerbacks to cover, which will be a big advantage against wide receivers like Julio Jones, Roddy White, Wes Welker or Torrey Smith.
This 49ers team has a great shot to win the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy. Their offense is clicking at the right time and the defense is the best of the teams remaining in the playoffs.
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