Road To Super Bowl LI: Conference Championship Predictions

By Kate Liming
Jan. 22, 2017

It's that special time of the year when the NFL season is coming to an end and we only have 4 teams left. The conference championship games are both held tomorrow (Sunday, February 22) and the stakes are high. If you've been keeping up with the NFL for the last few weeks then you know that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is on fire, Steelers Antonio Brown has caused trouble in the locker room after going on Facebook Live and broadcasting coach Mike Tomlin's post game speech after beating the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 in the AFC Divisional game. In the video, Tomlin referred to the New England Patriots with not-so-nice terms. You also know that the Patriots have been able to dominate the season without Gronkowski and that the Falcons are getting by with their top-notch offensive and defense.

So, let me predict who will move on to Super Bowl LI (51) and tell you why these teams will move on.

Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Like I said before, Aaron Rodgers has been proving himself to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league and in history. In fact, I think he's the best QB out of all 4 teams right now (Sorry not sorry, Tom Brady). Without wide receiver Jordy Nelson, it's going to be tough, but Rodgers was able to win without Nelson over the Cowboys by throwing a clutch pass to tight end, Jared Cook, with 12 seconds left in the game, which was able to get the Packers close to enough to score a field goal with 3 seconds left and win 34-31 in Dallas. 

The Falcons are succeeding because they have the best offense in the league right now, averaging 34 points a game. Yes, Matt Ryan is also playing the best he's ever played as a QB, but he's no Aaron Rodgers and without the offensive line, his skills wouldn't be praised as much. However, it is also worth mentioning that the Falcons have an outstanding defense. They haven't allowed more than 20 points in a game since Week 13 (except for Week 17 when the Saints scored 32 and Falcons scored 38). Randall Cobb and Jared Cook are going to be the two main players besides Aaron Rodgers who the Falcons are going to have to target at all times if they want to prevent the Packers from scoring. Falcons cornerback  Robert Alford and safety Keanu Neal are going to the ones that Rodgers is going to have to watch out for if he wants to be in a position to accurately make plays. The Falcons have the home advantage, but that shouldn't make much of a difference for the Packers and their game plan. 

Prediction: Packers by 4

Steelers vs. Patriots:

I think a lot of people are going to go ahead and pick the Patriots based on their past luck as a team and with the fact that their quarterback is known to be the king of the franchise every season. But there is more to dissect in this game that isn't going to be a blowout like some people believe it to be. Last week the Steelers beat the Chiefs 18-16 with all of those 18 points coming from field goals, so if the Steelers weren't able to get a single touchdown on the Chiefs, I'm not sure how they're going to manage getting one past the Patriots, however, I'm going to predict that Steelers score at least one or two touchdowns, but it's not going to be easy. Antonio Brown has a lot on his shoulders this week, especially with everything that went down on his Facebook Live last week. He just made himself and the team look like they were going to regret everything that was said in that locker room. Obviously Big Ben is going to make some pretty decent throws, but not the way Tom Brady will.

Either you love them, hate them, or really hate them. The Patriots and Tom Brady always seem to make an appearance every few Super Bowls. Nobody can deny that Tom Brady is a great quarterback, which is the main advantage for the Patriots, even with tight end Rob Gronkowski out of the picture; the Patriots have been able to do just fine without Gronk by utilizing wide receiver Julian Edelman more. Obviously, the Patriots have the better offense and are going to do their typical style of play, which is to dominate in all areas especially since the game is on Pats territory, giving them the field advantage. 

Prediction: Patriots by 5