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New Faces Add Spice to Familiar Look

Atlanta, welcome to the club.

The Falcons are the only newcomer to this season’s four-team field in the NFL conference championship games. San Francisco, New England and Baltimore are all making return trips, marking the first time three squads are back since Dallas, San Francisco and Buffalo pulled the repeat in the 1993 season.

The Ravens and Patriots are also the first two AFC teams to meet in a conference championship rematch since Cleveland and Denver played 25 seasons ago.

Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, no four-team coupling has ever made repeat appearances in the conference title games. The chances for that happening this season ended when the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants failed to reach the playoffs.

Here’s a preview of Sunday’s Falcons-49ers and Ravens-Patriots matchups. —Alex Marvez (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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