The 2012 NFL Playoffs schedule is down to the final four teams. The New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game and the New York Giants will travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
With only four teams remaining, it's easier to identify the favorites and that's what SB Nation's NFL playoffs roundtable wants to look at: Which team is now the favorite to win the 2012 Super Bowl?
David Fucillo: The 49ers would have to be the favorites thanks to the combination of their stifling defense and having home field against the hot New York Giants. The Giants are playing extremely well right now and are arguably the most dangerous team left, but having to go to Candlestick Park could potentially negate that to a certain extent.
The 49ers are built primarily around their defense and special teams with units that will physically brutalize the opposition. The 49ers beat up the New Orleans Saints this past week and have done that all season long, having knocked running backs out of six straight games at one point. The 49ers have dominated the field position game on special teams and the turnover game on offense, setting up their defense to not have to defend too many short fields. Now they can add in a quarterback who is as confident right now as he has ever been on a football field. They are clicking when they need to and that could be enough to get them to the finish line.
Jason Garrison: I have to go with the 49ers as well. To be honest, I didn't really think they had a huge chance to beat the Saints in the divisional round but they not only beat them, they dominated through much of the game. I've never seen one team be so physically dominating over another in a long time. I knew the Niners had a tough defense, but wow.
If the Niners can handle the Giants, and I think they can, I believe they have an upper hand over the two AFC teams. They could play the Patriots, who have a top-notch offense, but the 49ers stopped the Saints' offense, which is just as good if not better. Then there's the Ravens. This could be a better game because of the Ravens' tough defense, but Joe Flacco has been really inconsistent this year and you have to wonder if the Ravens' offense could handle the 49ers. All four teams have a shot at winning the Super Bowl in three weeks but I think the 49ers are the best team left.
Joel Thorman: I can see the 49ers running the table but they're not my pick. I have to go with the Patriots as the favorite to win it all right now. Their offense looked simply unstoppable on Saturday night against Denver, a defense that had been playing well lately. Tom Brady is on another level, as usual, and I'm not sure I see a team out there that can stop them.
The 49ers and Giants both have the type of defense that can disrupt Brady, but I don't think they can hold them down the entire game. The Patriots are the favorite to win the Super Bowl right now.