As each week unfolds, we find more and more excitement in every game. Now, the four teams left are fighting for a spot in the Super Bowl. Every snap matters, because this game could be their last. Four elite quarterbacks will face off this weekend to see who will make it to Super Bowl 51.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons: Two of the league’s best offenses led by two of the league’s best quarterbacks certainly presents the making for a shootout. While neither defense is particularly strong, they have been good enough to make it this far and stop some pretty good offenses along the way. With the Falcons offense rolling, the Packers defense will have to find a way to do something the Legion of Boom couldn’t – stop Julio and Matt Ryan.
As daunting of a task as that is, they have already faced very good offenses this postseason – first with a win against Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and the rest of the Giants offense. then against Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott, and a very good Cowboys offensive line. Now, with Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and many others, the Packers must yet again find a way to do what many think they cannot – stop good offenses.
On the other side however, Aaron Rodgers is playing about as good as a quarterback can play. With limited weapons due to injuries, he has been able to tear defenses apart due to his great pocket presence and a solid offensive line. With that being said, the big boys up front will have their hands full with Vic Beasley Jr., who has recorded 15 ½ sacks this season.
Although this is a high-flying Falcons team, I like this matchup for the Packers. The one exception is Beasley. If he can prevent Rodgers from getting time to throw the ball, this could be a long day for Green Bay. However, I do not see him significantly impacting the game enough to have the Falcons win. The Packers have gone up against good offenses already this post-season, and played well against a good Giants defense also. This will not be a walk in the park, but I think Rodgers can carry his team at least one more time.
Prediction: Packers- 42 Falcons- 38
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots: This is an extremely tough matchup. Although New England did not do as well as expected last week, both teams have been playing well, and when hot, can be very dangerous.
Playing in Foxborough is a very difficult thing to do, and winning there is even more challenging. I do not believe that will slow down the high-flying Steelers offense.
Some postgame comments might, though. Following the Steelers victory over the Chiefs, wide receiver Antonio Brown, live-streamed himself, teammates, and coaches, on Facebook Live, with the resulting video catching head coach Mike Tomlin saying profane things about the Patriots organization. While I do not personally believe it is as big of a deal as some are making it out to be, the mere fact that we are talking about it, shows that it is a distraction.
One thing that cannot happen before playing the Patriots…in the playoffs…in Foxborough…after they had a bad game – is a distraction. While a Belichick coaching method has always been able to take away a team’s best player, having Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell certainly does create a problem for the Pats defense. Who will you key in on to stop?
On the flip side, Tom Brady is 39 and having an MVP-like season. He wants a championship this year to show he’s still on top. But with a young and ready backup, a loss this week could mean the beginning of the end of an era in New England.
This game could go either way, and most likely will. Steelers will give the Patriots some problems, and the Patriots will give the Steelers just as many, but with off-the-field distractions (a.k.a Odell before the Packers game) it will be too much for the Killer B’s to overcome.
Prediction: Steelers- 24 Patriots- 27