San Francisco at Atlanta, Championship Sunday Games

Julio Jones is a beast. Matt Ryan is playing like a man who's out to prove his doubters wrong. Let me remind those of you who don't remember, however, Atlanta had a 27 - 7 lead against Seattle at home last week and gave it up before they pulled it out of their you know whats at the end. And that first TD was huge for San Fran. Being down two scores rather than three allows them to use their ├╝ber-dangerous pistol offense and run the ball like they love to do as opposed to having to use the pass to get quick scores. It also keeps the play action game involved which is a major part of their offense.

My prediction? I still think the 49ers will win, but it appears it'll be more difficult than I expected. As for the AFC Championship I'm rooting for the Ravens, but I think the Patriots offense is too much, and they'll out score Flacco and Co. I'm thinking 35 - 27. Agree or disagree?

The Season's Over. So Now What?

The Packers' season came to an end last night in San Francisco because they were physically dominated by a tougher team. That's all there is to it. To a man, they were just physically owned. They are a finesse team who ran into a power team, and in the NFL, power usually always wins. So that begs the question: What do they do in the offseason to address that problem? Do they do it through the draft or free agency? Maybe. I think they need to dig deeper than that though. I think they need a fundamental change in their team philosophy. Teams like the 49ers and Giants aren't going away, and if things stay the same, the Packers are going to keep getting dominated by much tougher and more physical teams.

In their last three playoff losses, the Packers have given up 51, 37, and 45 points. Things obviously need to change defensively. Do they fire defensive coordinator Dom Capers? Personally I say no, but that may be an option. More importantly, they need to develop an attitude and they need to be more physical. They need to come into a game with bad intentions, intentions of hitting people hard and hitting people often. Without that attitude, the scheme won't matter and things won't change.

Where does that attitude come from? It has to start at the top with the head coach. Mike McCarthy needs to get his team to develop a killer instinct and a mean streak. They need to attack with the same nastiness and confidence that the 49ers have. "We're tougher than you, stronger than you, and we're going to hit you in the mouth all day long until you quit." That's the attitude the great teams have, and they don't have it. That's why they lost last night, and until they get it, scheme changes or player changes aren't going to make a difference and these early playoff exits are going to be par for the course in Green Bay.