NFL Conference Championship Recap

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It was a boring Sunday afternoon of football with both AFC and NFC conference championships ending in blowouts. 

Stay alert for my Super Bowl predictions in next week’s issue. 

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

I was looking forward to this game more than the Steelers vs. Patriots game, because I thought it would be a high-scoring game, with two quarterbacks at their best. Well, I was half-right.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons showed up to play, but the Packers barely made it off the bus. The Falcons started scoring on their first drive of the game and never looked back. After taking a 31-0 third quarter lead, the Packers could answer, but the final score was 44-21. We can attribute this to Matt Ryan’s five total touchdowns, four passing and one rushing, as well as more than 400 combined yards.

Aaron Rodgers, who has been elite throughout the playoffs and the later part of the regular season, seemed out of character.

The Packers turned the ball over twice, had several key drops by receivers and could never get the rushing attack going. It was an accumulation of things which led to the Packers defeat, but I think the Falcons simply outplayed them. For that, they are headed to the Super Bowl. 

I sort of knew who was going to win this game before it even started. Tom Brady is out for blood and nothing can stand in his way.

The Patriots, like the Falcons, routed the Steelers in a blowout. Brady was efficient, throwing three touchdowns and 384 yards. But the Patriots’ defense was the highlight of the game, as they shut down Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger.

The nail in the coffin for the Steelers was the early departure of Le’Veon Bell. Bell has been the star for the Steelers during these playoffs and with his injury early in the game on Sunday, the Steelers’ running game was not efficient or explosive as usual.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

The final score was 36-17 in favor of the Patriots. It was not so much that either team was inherently better than the other; the biggest difference was quarterback play. Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season, after the deflate scandal, and has only lost a single game since his return. He is efficient, smart and has the fire in his stomach that a champion needs.