Picking Sunday's winners; breaking down the X-factors

Who's going to win Championship Sunday's two showdowns and square off in Super Bowl XLVI? Our experts make their fearless predictions. And stay tuned to NFL Network and NFL.com on Sunday for the best highlights and analysis from New England and San Francisco.

AFC Championship breakdown

It will be strength versus strength when the Ravens and Patriots meet for the AFC title. We break down who has the matchup advantage. **More ...**

Here's what else is on tap for Friday:

» We've narrowed the list of the best plays of the 2011 NFL season to 20. Now you can vote for the top 10, with the winner announced Feb. 4 at the NFL Honors in Indianapolis.

» Take a look back at some classic playoff matchups between the 49ers and Giants in this video.

» Sunday's conference championship matchups have a familiar ring to them, and in this season's final Greatness on the Road, we examine why both visiting teams have encouraging precedents to fall back on.

» Bucky Brooks breaks down the players who will be X-factors for the Giants, 49ers, Ravens, and Patriots.

» What is the organizational structure of each remaining playoff team? Albert Breer says three of the franchises operate in a similar manner, with Bill Belichick's Patriots being the outlier.

NFC Championship breakdown

With two fierce defenses

on the field, the team that best controls the line of scrimmage Sunday could win the NFC Championship Game. **More ...**

» Get to know the names Rob Chudzinski and Mike McCoy. Those two offensive coordinators are the future, Jason Smith writes, because they own the one trait necessary to succeed in today's NFL.

» Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a San Francisco fundraiser, was excited to congratulate the Giants for being "on their way to the Super Bowl." One problem: The Giants are the city's baseball team.

» The February issue of NFL Magazine will feature an exclusive interview with the controversial Ndamukong Suh, a profile of Aaron Rodgers, pivotal playoff moments, and more.

» Happy birthday to Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who turns 30 on Friday. Also celebrating birthdays are former NFL linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and Bills kicker Rian Lindell, who both turn 35, and Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga, who turns 25.

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