DAR Sports: NFL Conference Championship Preview

It has come down to this. After a long season, some with disappointments and some with surprises, we have arrived at the final four of football. While no one could be shocked to see two of the most dominant QBs in the AFC here with Big Ben and Tom Brady, the NFC picture is much different than last year. The Cowboys failed to get the job done, and the Falcons managed to get beyond the Seahawks, and now we have Aaron Rodgers back on the big stage and Matt Ryan with another chance to advance to the biggest stage that's evaded him in his career. It's really an interesting set of matchups. We expected Brady to be here and likely reach another Super Bowl, but he had one big obstacle to overcome and that's the Pittsburgh Steelers. Who will advance to the Super Bowl? Let's get into some predictions.

*AFC Conference Championship
(1) New England Patriots vs (3) Pittsburgh Steelers 

-I have no investment in this game. I dislike both QBs, and to be honest, neither team would be an acceptable Super Bowl Champion. I'd much rather have seen the Chiefs or the Raiders in this position, but that's not happening. The Patriots are the franchise of the NFL and Brady might be the GOAT, but there's a piece of me that feels like the Steelers will show up and play better than they have so far in the postseason and we will witness the Steelers unfortunately make another Super Bowl. I'm going with the Steelers 24-14.

Steelers 24-21
-I believe the Big B's will get it done against the Patriots defense this sunday. Their defense hasn't faced any legit offenses yet, not like the caliber offense that Pittsburgh has. They won't have an answer for Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown, setting things up easily for Big Ben. They will be returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in 6 years.

This is going to be a close game. Both teams have HOF quarterbacks and great running games. The key for both offenses is to keep the opposing QB of the field. I can see Bell running all over the field but AB has to score this game. The Patriots will most likely have Dion Lewis run first half and have Blount pound the rock to tire the Steelers out in the 2nd half. In the end it will come down to which team makes the least mistakes. Everyone seems to think NE will go to the Superbowl, but I actually think they are overvalued defensively. Brady hasn't played well in his last 2 playoff games (they were against top 3 defenses) but he has overcome. I think Steelers can win but NE will overcome albeit barely. Brady goes to his 7th superbowl.
Patriots win

-I truly believe Pittsburgh is going into this game as the better team. It'll be a good game, but I have Pittsburgh winning 33-21.

New England over Pittsburgh
-This will be a pretty entertaining game and honestly I'm looking forward to seeing this. These two are going to put on a show, however I have to go with Brady and the Pats on this. I think he's on a mission right now and won't be denied. If Pittsburgh can disrupt Brady in the pocket then that will make this game a whole lot interesting. Key player to watch in this one will be LeGarrett Blount, if the Pats can get him going then I can see that throwing the Steelers defense off balance.

*NFC Conference Championship
(2) Atlanta Falcons vs (4) Green Bay Packers 

-This was a lot tougher to predict when I thought the Packers were going to be slightly more healthy than they were against the Cowboys. Unfortunately, that was not the case. They are limited in healthy receivers and that's only gotten worse after a tough physical game with the Cowboys. Because of this, I think the Falcons will show up, Julio Jones will be able to execute, and the defense will also create problems. The banged up Green Bay defense will have a tough time keeping up with the Falcons. The Aaron Rodgers miracles can still win the game, but the road stops here. The Falcons win 35-21.

Packers 27-24
-The Packers are too hot to lose right now. Aaron Rodgers is on fire, and so is the rest of the team. I trust them much more than I trust Matt Ryan in a playoff game. This is all gonna fall on which QB plays better. Packers will rematch the Steelers in Super Bowl LI from Super Bowl XLV.

Well GB has earned the right to be here at this point. A-ROD is on another level and looking for another SB berth. This matchup pits two MVP candidates together in what might be a shootout. Atlanta is very impressive and might be on a miracle run of their own. I think the lack of personnel in Green Bay's secondary will finally come back to haunt them. The last QB's who GB faced weren't throwing on the level that Matt Ryan is on. That offense is full throttle and can actually score enough points to put the game away. However, even with all that said, Rodgers may still pull off a miracle. I just don't see that happening again.
Falcons win

GB vs ATL - GB
-The Super Bowl is going to be a Pittsburgh vs Green Bay rematch. Green Bay is too hot of a team right now for Atlanta to stop this is going to be a high scoring game but Green Bay wins it in the end.

Green Bay over Atlanta
-This game will go one of two ways. A Falcons blowout or a Packers close win. I foresee a close Packers win. I think Green Bay will do the right things defensively to stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense to give Aaron Rodgers a shot to win them the game. However don't sleep on Atlanta's defense. They're pretty underrated and can make life hell for Rodgers. Key player to watch here will be Matt Ryan. He's 2-4 in playoff games and has been in this stage before. Let's see which Matt Ryan steps up because recently he's been sharp.

With the Super Bowl just right around the corner, who will be left standing once this NFL Sunday concludes? Only time will tell. It's almost time for the biggest sporting event of the year. Are you ready?



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