Back in the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers are confident they can take that next step this year behind multi-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The top-seeded Atlanta Falcons look at their first playoff victory under coach Mike Smith as nothing more than clearing the first hurdle on the way to achieving the ultimate goal.
The conference's top two teams meet Sunday at the Georgia Dome with a berth in Super Bowl XLVII on the line.
"You're already amped up for the game, but guys get a little more amped up for championship games," San Francisco defensive lineman Ray McDonald told the team's official website. "When you're growing up, these are the kind of games you want to be in."
It's no great surprise Atlanta (14-3) and San Francisco (12-4-1) have reached this point as both were among the favorites to represent the NFC in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
The Falcons cruised to the South title while securing the conference's best record for the second time in three seasons....