Sunday, January 22nd at 3:05 PM: #4 Green Bay Packers @ #2 Atlanta Falcons (-4)
The NFC Championship may feature the best quarterback battle in recent playoff memory as red hot Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers fly south to Atlanta to take on MVP candidate Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ #1 scoring offense. Green Bay got off to a hot start in Dallas before barely hanging on at the end, while the Falcons were rarely tested in a blowout of Seattle. This game may come down to which defense makes a play during the final drive, as I expect both teams’ offenses to tee off on the opposing defense. I think the Packers’ defense has been very vulnerable and Matt Ryan, who is one of the bests QB’s when playing on his home turf, will make big plays to Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu. The Falcons defense does have a decent pass rush and if they can stall one or two key packer drives with a sack or negative play, Atlanta will have a great chance to move on. However, Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind and will carry the Packers to a 38-34 win.
Sunday, January 22nd at 6:40 PM: #3 Pittsburgh Steelers at #1 New England Patriots (-5.5)
Arguably the two most successful franchises and quarterbacks in recent memory will clash on Sunday as Big Ben and the Steelers take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. These teams have combined for 10 Super Bowl titles while the quarterbacks alone have combined for 6 rings. The winner of this matchup will set an NFL record with their 9th Super Bowl appearance. The key to this game will be each team’s gameplan on defense. The Patriots will have to figure out how to stop Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell while the Steelers will have to pass rush Tom Brady and game plan for a myriad of offensive weapons that includes Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis. Tom Brady has had great success against the Steelers throughout his career including two victories over them in the AFC Championship, and has never lost to current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The Patriots will play a hard fought game and Bill Belichick will ultimately outcoach Mike Tomlin while Malcolm Butler contains Antonio Brown and the Pats run defense steps up. Patriots advance to Super Bowl LI 27-23.
Let me know your predictions in the comments down below!