The NFL Playoff schedule for the divisional round is complete and we now know the final four teams that will battle it out next weekend for the AFC and NFC conference championship – and a trip to Super Bowl 51.
CBS Sports indicates that on Saturday the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots both punched their ticket to the championship round by rolling over their opponents.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons showed why they have the number one offense in the game as they compiled nearly 500 yards of total offense in their 36-30 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Ryan threw for 338 yards, three touchdowns and looked every bit the part of a MVP candidate in doing so.
The Falcons will now host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game next week. The Packers shocked many NFL experts by rolling into Dallas and defeating the No. 1 seeded Cowboys 34-31. In what can only be described as an instant classic, this divisional playoff game was like a heavy weight fight as both teams went toe-to-toe the entire game.
With the game tied and just 35 seconds left in regulation, Aaron Rodgers led the Pack down the field for a game winning field goal attempt as time expired. On a 3rd and 20 play, Rodgers completed an incredible sideline pass to Jared Cook for 36 yards, setting up Mason Crosby’s game winning field goal as time expired. Cook’s sideline ability to stay in bounds will go down as one of the best catches in Green Bay history, especially if they go on to the Super Bowl.
Now on to the AFC.
The Patriots showed why they are still the clear-cut favorites to win the Super Bowl this February as they rolled over the Houston Texans by the final of 34-16.
New England did look a bit sluggish in the first half, but cranked it up in the second half to earn the 18-point win in advancing to the AFC Championship. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, but uncharacteristically threw two interceptions as well.
The Texans did play better than the final score indicated, especially on defense, but in the end the lack of offense produced by Houston did them in.
The Patriots now prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday night in the AFC Championship game from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. This game should be great!
The Steelers defeated the Chiefs 18-16 in a wild defensive battle at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday night. Pittsburgh failed to score a touchdown the entire game, but the leg of Chris Boswell is all the Steelers needed last night. Boswell kicked an NFL record six field goals, single-handedly leading the Steelers over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium yesterday evening.
The Steelers and Patriots met earlier this season with New England coming out on top by the final score of 27-16. The Patriots dominated that game from start to finish, however, Pittsburgh didn’t have Ben Roethlisberger for that game.
Big Ben is a huge part of Pittsburgh’s team and having Roethlisberger in the lineup is key for the Steelers if they are going to advance to Super Bowl 51.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, the latest odds have the Patriots still listed as the favorites at +180. Right behind the Pats are the surging Green Bay Packers at +450, followed by the Steelers at +550 and the Falcons at +600.
Here is a look at the upcoming NFL championship schedule and early odds for both games.
- Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-5, Over/Under 59) 3 p.m. ET – FOX
- Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-4.5, Over/Under 44.5) 6:40 p.m. ET – CBS
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]