Sunday, January 22
Green Bay at Atlanta, 3:05 p.m. ET, FOX
Pittsburgh at New England, 6:40 p.m. ET, CBS
After two weeks of playoff games that were about as exciting as the line at a post office in Grand Island, Nebraska, this week’s NFC/AFC title games promise to be much more thrilling. Granted, not all the divisional games were at jury duty levels of elation. The Cowboys/Packers game ended in a flourish of unpredictable drama with Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers showing again why he might be the best, and also why he gets to date Olivia Munn.
For the Steelers, the heavy drama came both during and after their victory over the Chiefs when receiver Antonio Brown secretly filmed coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots a******* in his postgame speech and streamed it on Facebook Live. In all fairness, Tomlin’s remarks are not shocking and pretty much reflect the way all of us feel about the Patriots, even newborn babies.
The NFC title game will be all about one thing: covering up the fact that football is arguably a deadly sport with severe consequences. OK, two things. It will be all about offense. The Falcons have the number one scoring offense (33.8 points per game) lead by QB Matt Ryan, and the Packers are no strangers to the end zone, averaging 27 points per game. Green Bay’s offense may be seriously hindered however, with most of their main wide receiver threats listed as questionable, including Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams.
Ryan and the Falcons will have the home crowd, but star wideout Julio Jones also had some questionable injury issues leading up to the title game. In the end, it’s extremely hard to bet against Aaron Rodgers, especially since that guy can basically throw a no-look Hail Mary while shooting an insurance commercial. Look for the Pack to win in a close one.
Over in the AFC game, nothing would make America happier (other than not having Trump as president, removing ads before YouTube clips or giving Steve Harvey more shows) than the Patriots losing on Sunday. The Patriots have become the evil Empire of the NFL, but unlike the “Star Wars” franchise, there has been very little “Return of the Jedi” by other teams. I keep trying to find a way that the Steelers could win this game because it’s not looking good on numbers alone, as they are 0-4 in Foxboro since 2000 and Tomlin is 1-5 against them in his tenure as coach.
The silver lining for Pittsburgh is that this is the year in sports when anything can happen: Cubs, Cavs, and Burundi got that silver medal at the summer Olympics. The game will come to do how well Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will play because between Le’Veon Bell and Brown, the Steelers have all the firepower they need. So for America’s sake, go Steelers! and not Trump!