Saturday, January 21, 2017

2016 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship games

Green Bay Packers (+5-1/2) at Atlanta Falcons: It's scary how evenly matched these two teams appear to be. Both have great quarterbacks, both have average defenses and both have clutch kickers. Also, the last two games between these two teams have been shoot outs. The Falcons edged the Pack 33-32 in a Week 8 game in Atlanta this season while Green Bay prevailed 43-37 in a 2014 regular season matchup.

In this postseason, the Packers have averaged 36 points per game whereas the Falcons dropped 36 on a tough Seattle Seahawks defense last week. With all that in mind, I fully expect this game to come down to who has the ball last. It's pretty much a flip of the coin at this point.
Green Bay 31 Atlanta 30

Pittsburgh Steelers (+6) at New England Patriots: Good news for the Steelers is they appeared to move the ball at will in last week's playoff win in Kansas City. The bad news? They scored nary a touchdown against an average Chiefs defense, settling for 6 field goals in an 18-16 win. That formula won't get it done against Tom Brady & Co. in Foxboro.

Despite Brady looking like a mere mortal against the top ranked Houston Texans defense last week, you never got a sense that the Pats were in trouble in their 34-16 win. However, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger ain't no Brock Osweiler. Big Ben has some potent offensive weapons at his disposal in RB Le'Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown, so the Pats defense (which allowed an NFL low 250 points in the 2016 regular season) will be severely tested.

While I think Pittsburgh will hang tough, I just can't bring myself to bet against Bill Belichick and Brady at home in an AFC title game.
New England 31 Pittsburgh 24

Postseason Record:
Against the Spread: 7-1
Straight Up: 8-0


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