By: Keaundrey Clark
The National Football League divisional round has passed and gone. We learned a few things this past weekend. You need an elite quarterback to get this far in the season. The four remaining quarterbacks, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have thrown for 135 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. You have Super Bowl winners (Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Brady), past MVPs (Brady and Rodgers) and the potential 2016 NFL MVP (Ryan).
With four of the game’s best playing on the highest stages, we will see some classic games come this conference championship weekend. The Dallas Cowboys look set for the next 10 years with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott as their stars. The two rookies shine in their first NFL playoff game and in defeat they showed they’ll be a force for years to come. The Seattle Seahawks are doing Russell Wilson a disservice by putting him behind an awful offensive line. That needs to be addressed if they want to even sniff the Super Bowl next season. This might be the Chiefs last run with Alex Smith as quarterback. He’s limited; average at best. If they don’t cut bait now, they’ll never get better. The Houston Texans, just like the Chiefs, have a roster to win now but are hamstrung by a shitty quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons vs Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers vs Matt Ryan in a dome. Man, that’s a lot of points. Rodgers threw one of the greatest passes you’ll ever see, a 36-yard dart to Jared Cook to get his team into field goal range for the win, rolling to his left and threw it against his body, only where his player can catch it with his feet in bounds and left time on the clock. Each team’s defense is in the bottom half of the league in passing yards given up. These quarterbacks will pass for 350 yards each, probably push for 400 yards. Both teams will likely score 30 plus points. This game could literally come down to which team makes a play defensively or which quarterback has the ball last.
My Pick: Packers 38 – Falcons 31
New England Patriots vs Pittsburg Steelers: At this point, the Patriots are just a nameless, faceless machine. It feels that every team they’ve had in the last 15 years has been identical with a few exceptions in the past. Two things remain the same: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. With those two, they always have a fighting chance. The Steelers have arguably the best running back and receiver to grace an NFL field, a top five quarterback, yet they are 11th in scoring in the league. Not bad but not good especially for the talent they have. If they can put touchdowns on the board they have a chance to knock off Tom Brady and company.
My Pick: Patriots 30 – Steelers 27