And then there were four. The Ménage à trois plus one. The Boston 4 Party. Whatever you want to call it these are the best 4 teams remaining in the NFL. You could also make the argument they feature the top octo of Quarterbacks as well. Offense is definitely the more sexy but do not overlook the defenses of any of these final teams; defenses win games more often than their counterparts on offense as you saw this playoffs with the Patriots, Steelers, and Falcons in the divisional round holding their opponents to 20 or less. Let’s dive in deep there only 3 freakin games left in the NFL Season!
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – Green Bay & Atlanta
These two offensive powerhouses faced off in the Georgia Dome back in Week 8 and it ended up turning out to be one of the better games of the entire 2016 Season. Probably a Top 10 game. It will be tough to replicate the Green Bay and Dallas drama from the Divisional Round but if this Sunday afternoon showdown is anywhere close to their previous match up it will be a sensational game.
Both teams are hot! The Falcons are on a 5 game win streak and are averaging an astounding 38 points a game during that time and only giving up half of that defensively. Not known for there defense, ATL put on a show against the Seahawks in the Divisional Round by shutting down Seattle’s offense and forcing turnovers. Tall task to do the same against a very hot Aaron Rodgers and Packers team. Green Bay is on a blazing 8 game win streak scoring over 30 points in their last 6. They had a Yin and Yang season if I ever saw one, starting the year a dismal 4-6 for their standards until they “ran the table” as Rodgers put it after giving up 42 to the Redskins back in November on primetime TV. The Pack defense only giving up a half point more defensively than Atlanta during their streak with 19.5 a game. Evenly matched teams if I’ve ever seen it, one big difference though… the superb run game from the Falcons hosting the best RB combo in the game in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and oh ya not to mention MVP year from QB Matt Ryan. Look for a highly raucous stadium in the Georgia Dome’s final game since Mr. Double Check made a remark regarding Atlanta’s use of fake crowd noise a couple seasons ago. Perhaps a mistake he made off the field he’ll regret when he’s on it.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – Pittsburgh & New England
Talk about hot teams! The Steelers and Patriots are streaking proudly with win streaks of 9 and 8 respectively. And talk about teams that always find themselves here throughout the years. The team that wins this game will reach the Super Bowl for a NFL record 9th time. Coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will play in their 11th AFC Championship game with the Patriots and it also being their 6th straight year there! Sustained Dominance. These two teams matched up earlier in the season as well back in Week 7 in Pittsburgh the major difference, no Ben Roethlisberger at QB as he was recovering from a knee injury, the only game of the year that he missed excluding Week 17 when the regular season finale didn’t mean anything to the Steelers.
The Pats are averaging 29 and allowing just under 13 points in their last 8 games while Pittsburgh is close but 3 points worse in both categories scoring 26 and giving up 16 during their 9 game win streak. Historically speaking in 5 playoff matchups, the Steelers are averaging exactly what the Patriots are allowing in 13 points. So if that comes to fruition again it might be a blowout at the hands of New England, but at the same time Big Ben will be the best QB the Pats will have faced since they lost to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks before their win streak began.
PACKERS 34 FALCONS 30
PATRIOTS 30 STEELERS 20
Enjoy the games!