Patriots vs. Ravens
Tom Brady - Brady has faced the Baltimore Ravens seven times in his career. In those seven games the Pats are 5-2.
Only twice in those games though, has the difference been more than a touchdown.
Brady has a knack for coming up big in big games – If New England is to win Sunday, he will have to make some adjustments considering he is missing the “Gronk”, and play a little better than he normally does against the Ravens.
Aaron Hernandez – Hernandez didn’t play in their last matchup, but will most likely be a favorite target of Brady in Sunday’s game considering the absence of Ron Gronkowski, especially if he is matched up over the middle or in space against a linebacker.
Wes Welker - Welker has been one of the most prolific receivers in the NFL for the past several years. He has led NFL in receptions three times, including 122 for a career-high 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Last week he had eight receptions for 131 yards in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Texans, a personal postseason best for Welker.
Joe Flacco - He is far from the most consistent quarterback in the league, but when he is good, he is very good. Although he has a 2-3 career record against New England, he has completed 108 of 167 passes for 1,271 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
In the September 23 game in which the Ravens won 31-30, Flacco was 28 of 39 for 382 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Ray Lewis - Lewis has 30 tackles over his last two games, and is the absolute spiritual leader of the Ravens. He has announced he will retire after the season, making Sunday's game potentially his last. In order for the Ravens to come out on top against New England, Lewis will have to play one of the best games of his 17-year career.
49ers vs. Falcons
Colin Kaepernick – Coming off a four-touchdown game against Green Bay, rushing for an NFL record 181 yards seemingly untouched, Kaepernick is definitely the key component of a San Francisco victory. Only in his second season, perhaps the most impressive part of his game is his confidence. To lead San Francisco to a win this Sunday, he will have to keep the hot hand he has had since replacing Alex Smith in week 11.
Michael Crabtree – In an attempt to shut down the 49ers' two-headed monster running game of Frank Gore and Kaepernick, Crabtree is likely to find himself in a lot of one-on-one coverage against Atlanta. He finished the regular season with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns and pulled in nine receptions for 119 yards and two more scores against the Packers. If he continues to play at such a high level, it will be a long day for Atlanta’s defensive backfield.
Frank Gore – With so much attention being paid to the footwork of Kaepernick, the Falcons cannot afford to ignore Gore. Kaepernick’ s ability to spread the defense makes Gore’s game that much more dangerous and vice-versa. The only chance Atlanta has of winning Sunday is to stop Gore or Kaepernick, or both.
Aldon Smith – If Smith doesn’t figure out how to get to Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, there is little hope of a 49er win Sunday. Smith racked up a franchise-record 19½ sacks through the first 13 games and finished second in the league behind the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt. However he has gone four straight games without making a single sack - that will need to change if the 49ers want a shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
Matt Ryan – Ryan will have to hit many different targets and hit them often, considering Atlanta’s running game has been so unreliable all season and they are up against a defense that gives up less than 95 yards per game on the ground. Spreading the ball around to Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzales and his running backs is a must if the Falcons intend to move on.