Conference Championship Matchups, Analysis, and Predictions
By Jason Rodriguez
Jan 15, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) hands off the ball to fullback Aaron Ripkowski (22) against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoff game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
What will the Conference Championship round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs bring us? This weekend promises to bring a ton of action and excitement.
Now that we can say goodbye to the exciting divisional round, all football fans can get excited for the big matchups in the Conference Championship round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs. This weekend in the AFC, we have the third seed Pittsburgh Steelers at the first seed New England Patriots. In the NFC, we have the fourth seed Green Bay Packers at the second seed Atlanta Falcons.
All four of these teams are playing some excellent football or have been going through a hot streak. These games should provide even more excitement than what we saw last week in the divisional matchup.
One of the lower seeds should be able to compete and possibly upset the top seeds. These two games, for the most part, could really go either way but at the end of it all, only the best will be victorious straight to Super Bowl LI.
Let’s take a look at what the outcome of the games could be and who will be heading to the big game.
Next: Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots
Jan 14, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after a play against the Houston Texans in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots
This matchup has many intrigued for what the storyline is looking like between both teams. The Steelers are coming in with a ton of momentum and are playing excellent football. A big question is if the Pittsburgh Steelers defense can continue their success as of late.
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The Patriots will look to get back to the Super Bowl and sit back on top. Quarterback Tom Brady took a beating last week and will need to do a better job in protecting himself. The Patriots will look to attack the secondary like they did in their first matchup.
With the Steelers, on the other hand, they are hoping their defense can save the day. Lucky for them, they have been playing excellent defense that could be a game changer. The passing game of the Steelers will have to be effective like they have been. Wide receivers Antonio Brown and Demarcus Ayers will need to have another big game. Le’Veon Bell needs to continue his hot streak to keep the Steelers ahead of the game.
This AFC championship matchup will have the two top defenses going up against one another. The Steelers are ranked first as they only give up a total of 266 yards and the Patriots are ranked second as they only give up 285 yards per game.
The final score is going to be close but this will be a very tight game. The first team to get a turnover and control the clock will be the winner. It will also come down to which team commits the first big mistake that will determine the final outcome.
Prediction: Steelers 21, Patriots 14
Next: Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons
Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons
This game can be either be a very good one or it could be a blowout. The Falcons will need to continue to bring their A-game in order to win and play perfectly like they did last week. It is going to be a very tight and hard fought game that will come down to the very end.
Quarterback Matt Ryan continues to have an MVP type of season and needs to continue how he has been playing. He has to attack the defense of the Packers and make them play on their heels. He must be very careful and get rid of the football quick. If the Packers are able to contain Ryan than it could be a long night for him.
The Packers will need to have quarterback Aaron Rodgers continue his hot streak and to carry his team. The big question will be if wide receiver Jordy Nelson could play this weekend while he is recovering from a rib injury. The offense will need to continue its dominance.
Next: Can the Atlanta Falcons end Super Bowl drought?
It is going to come down to who can reach 30 points first and hold the other team down. It could possibly be a higher score than what most people think it could be.
Prediction: Falcons 34, Packers 28