It's a battle of quarterbacks with some terrific skill players and some pretty good defense along with four awesome kickers in the Championship games of the NFC and the AFC. The winners head to Houston to play in Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium in Houston two weeks from Sunday, on February 5th. Of the starting quarterback, there are 7 Super Bowl rings between them. Tom Brady has 4, Ben Roethlisberger has 2, and Aaron Rodgers has 1.
Here's a look at tomorrow's games along with predicted outcomes...
Last week: 4-0
Green Bay Packers (12-6) @ Atlanta Falcons (12-5)
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA. (71,228)
2:05 PM CT/3:05 PM ET
Joe, Troy, EA
Lead whistle, Bill Vinovich
Falcons by 5 1/2
ARodg has been unconscious in the Packers' 8-game winning streak, throwing for 2,735 yards, 24 TDs against only 1 int. That's beyond superb. He's got super receivers and Jordy Nelson could very well be back for this game. In last week's thrilling 34-31 victory over the Cowboys, Rodgers literally drew up a play in the huddle on third and 20 with 18 seconds left, then completed a beautiful throw to tight end Jared Cook for 36 yards, which allowed awesome kicker Mason Crosby to connect on a 51 yarder and win the game for the Packers, 34-31, over the outstanding Cowboys team. Now ARodg and the explosive Packers offense faces a defense that has been coming along lately under head coach Dan Quinn, a defensive-minded coach who was defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks when they won the Super Bowl in 2014.
But the Falcons have quite a quarterback themselves in Matt Ryan. The MVP voting is done, and it's neck and neck between Ryan, Rodgers and Tom Brady, but Ryan has certainly made a strong case. I said I liked Brady to win it, but Brady only played in 12 games, and Ryan has been superb all season. So I'm going with Ryan to win it. In the Falcons' 5 game winning streak, Ryan has thrown for 1,469 yards, 14 TDs and zero ints. He's all world. Julio Jones is the top target, but Ryan's also got receivers Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to distribute the ball to or hand it off to. The Falcons defense has really improved this season and put up a pretty stellar performance in their 36-20 victory over the Seahawks a week ago.
ARodg is on fire and hard to go against, but I really like this Falcons team. They can win it all and I like them to be victorious at home tomorrow. Ryan and company light up a banged up Packers' secondary and the Falcons make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1999, their second in the franchise's existence.
Falcons 38, Packers 31
Pittsburgh Steelers (13-5) @New England Patriots (15-2)
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass. (66,829)
5:40 PM CT/6:40 PM ET
Jim, Phil, Trace
Lead launderer: Terry McCaulay
Weather: 45, some rain possible, wind 13 MPH
Line: Patriots by 6
Brady's remarkable performance this season has been well documented. He threw for 28 TDs against 2 ints during the regular season, but struggled against a pretty good Houston Texans defense last week throwing two ints, and getting sacked a couple of times. The Patriots o line will have to be better this week against Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier and a solid Steelers defense. The questionable weather favors the Steelers, as they are a blue collar, grind it out team. Big Ben hasn't had his best season, but with Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and the Steelers' amazing kicker, Chris Boswell, the Steelers can get it done, and Roethlisberger is still one of the best in the business and clutch city when he needs to be. Boswell kicked 6 field goals last week against Kansas City in an 18-16 Steelers victory. He was auto-matic. When asked after the game if there are four killer B's along with Ben, Brown and Bell, Boswell said, "I don't belong in that company." Love the humility. Mason Crosby was the same way after his kicks against Dallas. I like the humbleness of the kickers. It's pretty awesome.
I love this Steelers team. I've always liked the way the Steelers play football. They are tough, physical and good in all phases in the game, and always defensively. With Big Ben and his weapons, Jesse James is another factor at tight end, I give the Steelers a good chance to pull off the upset. But it's at New England and Brady is the man, and will solidify his place as the best quarterback in NFL history with another Super Bowl title, which would be his 5th. This is a good matchup. With possible tough conditions weather-wise, the Steelers can keep this close and win it in the fourth quarter, but I'm going with Tom Terrific and the Patriots to make their 7th Super Bowl appearance since 2000. They have won four of them.
Patriots 28, Steelers 24