AFC and NFC Championship Review and Super Bowl Preview

Sports Commentary by: Bennett Rowan and Seth Rainey

Last Sunday night, the New England Patriots took it to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a final score of 36 to 17. With this very impressive win, Tom Brady and the Patriots will advance to Super Bowl LI (or 51).

The Patriots came out of the gates running as they outscored the Steelers 10 to 0 in the first quarter. From there, it was all Patriots and the Steelers were simply trying to play catch up.

The injury to star running back Le’Veon Bell after only six carries only worsened Pittsburgh’s chances to mount a comeback.

Tom Brady played his usual part as he tore apart Pittsburgh’s secondary. He threw for 384 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Although Tom Brady had an outstanding performance, his stats were shadowed by his wideout, Chris Hogan.

Hogan was Brady’s favorite target in this contest and he did not let this opportunity go to waste. Hogan caught 9 passes on 12 targets for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Both Brady and Hogan look to take this chemistry into next week’s matchup against the Falcon’s young secondary.

The Brady-Belichick era has arrived at its 7th Super Bowl appearance and Brady looks to add on to his collection and win his 5th Super Bowl ring.

The NFC Championship was much of the same as the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Green Bay Packers 44-21.

The Dirty Birds were hot right out of the gate as the powered their way to a 24-0 halftime lead headlined by the play of Matt Ryan and the receiving corps as well as the impressive Falcons defense against a streaking Aaron Rodgers.

The second half was more of the same as the young Atlanta defense forced a three-and-out on the first Green Bay possession. What followed was a 73 yard touchdown reception by Julio Jones to put the Falcons up 31-0 early in the third.

Jones finished with 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Ryan threw for 392 yards and four scores. Ryan also had a 14 yard rushing touchdown.

The Atlanta Falcons have one of the most productive offenses the NFL has ever seen, which is led by MVP candidate Matt Ryan. Ryan looks to win his 1st Super Bowl in his first ever appearance.

The Falcons have many playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that make Matt Ryan all the more dangerous. With help from star wideout Julio Jones and the running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, Ryan and his offense led the NFL in points and yards per game.

In addition to their high powered offenses, both Atlanta and New England have many playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

In New England’s secondary, Malcolm Butler and company are more than ready to face off with Atlanta’s receiving group. Butler, who won the Super Bowl for the Patriots in 2014 with a game sealing interception, looks to bring the same intensity and game play into this game.

The Falcon’s also have many playmakers on their young defense. Led by the NFL sack leader Vic Beasley and the rookie group of Keanu Neal, DeVondre Campbell, Brian Poole and Deion Jones, Atlanta’s defense hopes to slow down Tom Brady just as they did to Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship game.

While many people believe this year’s Super Bowl will be a shootout, the defensive play could very easily be the deciding factor in this game.

The Patriots have opened up as a 3 point favorite over the Falcons, according to CBS Sports.

The Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots will take the field on February 5th to play for the coveted Lombardi trophy and bragging rights of Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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