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2012 NFL Conference Championship Odds & Spreads

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (10) hurries a pass as San Francisco 49ers Isaac Sopoaga thunders in on him in the first half at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on November 13, 2011. The 49ers defeated the Giants 27-20. UPI/Terry Schmitt

Ravens @ Patriots, 3:00PM ET, Sunday
The Patriots opened as a 9-point favorite when the odds were first released but the spread has dropped at all major offshore and Las Vegas sports books. Now New England is listed as a 7.5-point home favorite, while the over/under total is sitting between 49.5 and 50.5 after opening at 50.5.

The home team is 4-1-1 against the spread in the last six meetings between these two teams while the Ravens are just 1-3-2 against the number in their last six trips to New England. That said, the last time these two teams met in Foxboro, the Ravens raced out to a 24-0 first-quarter lead on their way to a 33-14 blowout in the 2009 Wildcard round.

Giants @ 49ers, 6:30PM ET, Sunday
This game opened as a pick’em at most sports books but there was an early flood of money posted on the 49ers, who are now 2.5-point favorites over the Giants. The over/under total is sitting between 41.5 and 42.5 after opening at 44.5, so clearly the consensus is that this will be a defensive battle throughout.

These two teams met in Week 10 of the regular season when the 49ers beat the Giants 27-20 as a 4-point home favorite. The favorite is 4-0 against the spread in the last five meetings between these two teams while the home squad is 5-2 against the number in the last seven overall meetings. But the Giants are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games against the 49ers and 7-0 against the number in their last seven playoff road games.

2012 NFL Conference Championship Odds:

AFC Championship Game
Baltimore Ravens +7.5 (50)
New England Patriots –7.5

NFC Championship Game
New York Giants +2.5 (42)
San Francisco 49ers –2.5

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Packers beat offensively challenged Bears, become second No. 6 seed to make Super Bowl

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji (Left-Center) celebrates with teammates after intercepting and scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter of their NFC Championship game at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA 23 January 2011. The Packers defeated the Bears 21-14 and will play the AFC Champion in Super Bowl XLV 06 February in Dallas, Texas, USA. EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO fotoglif933236

Here are five quick-hit thoughts about the Packers’ 21-14 win over the Bears in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

1. The Packers’ improbable run continues.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate what the 2010 Green Bay Packers have been able to do. They entered the season as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, only to see their hopes seemingly wash away because of injuries. Needing two wins in the final two weeks just to qualify for the postseason, they crushed the Giants and edged out the Bears to clinch the No. 6 seed in the NFC. Against long odds, the Packers then go on the road and knock off the Eagles, the No. 1-seeded Falcons and the No. 2-seeded Bears to reach the Super Bowl. It’s hard enough to win on the road, nevertheless do so in the postseason when home field advantage is so paramount. The Packers are red-hot and match up well with either the Jets or Steelers.

2. Capers deserves a lot of praise for the play of his defense.
Rex Ryan has earned a lot of attention this postseason for his defensive game plans, but Dom Capers deserves some of the spotlight after what Green Bay did on Sunday. His defense is the main reason the Packers won today – not Aaron Rodgers. The Bears made things interesting in the fourth quarter and the Packers did catch a break when Jay Cutler left the game with a knee injury, but let’s not take anything away from Capers’ game plan. The Bears could do nothing offensively for the first three quarters and their offensive line couldn’t stop Green Bay’s pass rush. Matt Forte had a couple of nice runs and Caleb Hanie made some clutch throws in the fourth quarter but again, domination was on display. The Packers held the Bears to 218 passing yards and 83 rushing, all while forcing three turnovers. On a day when Rodgers wasn’t at his best, the Packers needed a strong defensive effort and that’s exactly what they got.

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