Patriots in the AFC Championship game? No one saw that coming.
The AFC Championship had to go through New England the last 5 years so why should this year be any different. Even though Tom Brady missed the first 4 games of the year, the Patriots have Bill Belichick, he finds a way to get the best out of his players so you know whoever he has as quarterback was gonna be successful. The Patriots ended up going 3-1 without Brady, thats pretty good. Not to mention that both quarterbacks they used got injuries, Jimmy Garoppolo with a sore right shoulder and Jacoby Brissett with a injured right thumb (played the next week anyway). When Brady returned it looked like he didn’t miss a beat. He ended the season with 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 2 interception. Patriots went 11-1 with Brady and clinched the #1 seed in the playoffs. With a first round bye, they ended up facing the Texans in the divisional round and they handled them rather easily with a score of 34-16. With Brady at the helm they always have a good chance to win no matter who they are facing.
The Pittsburgh Steeler are back in the AFC Championship since the 2010-2011 season. They are lead by their three-headed attack of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. Those three are a scary trio, Roethlisberger is arguably a top 5 QB, Antonio is considered the top WR in the league, and Bell is also a considered the best RB in the league. Those three combined to create a nightmare for any defense and with them coming of a week where none of the three scored a touchdown, you know they are itching to get in the endzone. There is some tension in the locker room though because of Brown. He decided to Facebook live Coach Tomlin giving his post-game speech and it caused tension between him and Roethlisberger and Tomlin. Hopefully all is settled so they can come out and give the patriots their best game.
These two teams have the history behind them as they are consider one of the best franchises in the NFL, with Pittsburgh having 6 Superbowl rings and Patriots having 4 Superbowl rings. These two quarterbacks are also considered one of the best in the league so this game is pitting two of the best against each other. The game will be determined by one thing: Will it be the Steelers defense that stop Brady or will it be the Patriots defense that stops the three-headed attack of the Steelers?
Can the Falcons get into the Super Bowl for the second time in the Franchise history?
This NFL season is arguably the most unpredictable season in the history of the NFL. Nobody anticipated that the Green Bay Packers would face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship. In fact, nobody anticipated these two teams would play for the NFC championship at the start of the playoffs. Both teams have exceeded expectations and helped make this NFL season an unforgettable one. That being said, only one team will headline the Super Bowl.
The Packers had a difficult time getting into the playoffs, with doubt during the season if the Packers would make it. During the season fans and NFL analyst criticized the performance of Packer’s Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with many feeling he was not the same player he was in seasons prior. The Packers with their playoff hopes threated during week 11, would complete the season winning every game and Rodgers would make a case for MVP consideration as well. Getting into the Wildcard, they would beat the Giants in dominate fashion. Then the Packers would upset the Dallas Cowboys, who many felt would be in the Super Bowl. The Packers has overcome all the odds and are close to being in the Super Bowl once again.
The Falcons had an impressive season, which caught many be surprise. The Falcons always had the talent, but always seemed to fall short to becoming Super Bowl contenders. Throughout the season the Falcons had one of the worst defenses in the NFL, being ranked 25th in the league. However, they are ranked the 2nd best offense in the league. Quarterback Matt Ryan is a strong candidate for MVP for the season and is making his case as a top tier QB in the NFL. Wide Receiver Julio Jones has also made his case for one of the best receivers in the NFL, having the 2nd best receiving yards in the league. The Falcons have shocked many, but getting into the Super Bowl would really make their season an exceptional one.
Both teams have surprised everyone and have exceeded beyond their expectations from the start of the season. The Packers would become underdogs and fight their way to the Conference Championship. The Falcons would overcome the weakness of their defense, by having an incredible offense. The Falcons have the better offense, but the question remains how will their defense hold up against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers will look to take advantage of the Falcons defense, but Ryan may have more difficulty with the Packer defense. Another question is with the injuries and the games to get to the Conference Championship go against the Packers? Key players like Jordy Nelson and Devonte Adams are still questionable to play, with players like Clay Mathews being banged up. Just like the season, the NFC Championship game is unpredictable and that is what makes this game exciting.
Is it time to start thinking about another championship coming to Oakland?
The Oakland Raiders are on a roll in the NFL and have become arguably the most improved team of the season. Led by Quarterback and MVP candidate Derek Carr, the Raiders are 9-2 and are at the top of the AFC West. They are also tied with the New England Patriots as the best team in the AFC. So how did they get so good?
Derek Carr is making the argument as one of the best Quarterbacks under thirty years old. He has thrown for 22 touchdowns for the season and has only threw 5 interceptions for the year so far. He is also on track to possible have over four thousand passing yards for the season. He has shown to also be a clutch player by winning the majority of close games heading into the fourth quarter.
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Carr also has offensive weapons like Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, with Crabtree having 6 touchdowns and 711 yards. The Oakland raiders offensive line has also improved, giving Carr more opportunities to make a play. The only downside for the Raiders is their defense, which is slowly starting to improve. Their defense needs to improve, but the raiders having Khalil Mack has been the step in the right direction. Mack is a big time defensive player and will only continue to get better.
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The Raiders have a serious chance to potential be playing in the Super Bowl this season. Things can still change before the season is over, but critics can no longer doubt this team. Other than their great offense, they also have a mentality to win at all cost. This mentality the Raiders have, is what makes this team so dangerous. Their aren’t many teams in the NFL that has the same mentality, which has helped become one of the best teams in clutch moments. As of now, the only team standing in their way of the playoffs is the Patriots. Although the Patriots defense is not the same as they were last season, which with the Raiders offense can be a disadvantage. The Raiders chances to be in the Super Bowl are legit and with how they are playing the could possibly give the Bay another championship team.