Atlanta Falcons 44, Green Bay Packers 21
Nick Bair: This one was over pretty quickly. I have been very impressed by the Falcons’ offense this postseason. I had some reservations that they could keep up their regular season pace, but they have shown to be super dynamic. Julio Jones is just a monster. AB is great, OBJ is my guy, but the title of best receiver in the league belongs to Julio right now. As far as the Pack, they had a great run, but you ARodg could only do so much. Their slew of injuries finally caught up with them and they couldn’t stop Atlanta to save their lives. Atlanta closed out the Georgia Dome in style and the city is really having their moment in the sun. Their next stop is Houston for Super Bowl LI.
Jordan Curet: I have never had a team I support so thoroughly beaten from start to finish. I don’t even know if you can fact check that, but it feels true so we’re going to run with it. Aaron Rodgers played like a man possessed in the second half, but what can you do, down 20 points the entire time? As our contributor Sean said, the Packers defense was still back in Dallas. And there they shall rest, until next season. Now that I think about it, if Dom Capers wants to just stay put wherever he vacations in the offseason, that might be for the best. Atlanta, on the other hand, at least has something else to do with their time besides tell everyone who will listen that “next season is the Dawgs season”. Heading into only their second ever Super Bowl, the Falcons have the offensive ability to take the game to New England. The only question is whether a different anonymous wide receiver will step up for the Patriots in their time of need, only to be overvalued in every fantasy draft next year.
Randy Haines: What a performance by the new Greatest Show On Turf. The couple early drops that Atlanta suffered could have derailed a normal offense, but this Falcons team acted as if they never happened. Julio Jones is just stupid good, Matt Ryan is playing with Brady-like efficiency, and the duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is by far the best running back combo in the league. If their defense can create pressure early against New England like they were able to on Sunday, they just might your Super Bowl champions. As for Green Bay, it’s the same story as every year. They have completely failed as an organization over the past nine seasons to consistently put even an average defense together in support of Aaron Rodgers.
New England Patriots 36, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
NB: Death, Taxes, and the New England Patriots. While I’m not Patriots fan, I do like the idea of Roger Goodell having to deal with the team he has trashed for the last couple years. The US of Brady is alive and well and for that I salute the Pats. They also let ex PSU lax brah Chris Hogan catch a few touchdowns. Can’t hate that. As a Ravens fan, it’s also nice to see the Steelers lose, but I was hoping for more of a game. Once Le’Veon Bell got hurt, the game was essentially over. I hope next year the Ravens can take back the division and have a chance to dethrone the Pats in the AFC. Overall, we should be getting a solid Super Bowl matchup between two great offenses. After this lackluster playoffs, let’s just hope we get a close game.
JC: Going into the game, there was a creeping feeling that maybe Houston showed the Patriots to be vulnerable in certain respects. Not that the Steelers have anything resembling the Houston defense, but perhaps if Pittsburgh could keep the New England receivers in check for long enough, the Patriots’ offensive line was bound to fail. Alas, Chris Hogan of all people decided it was his time to shine and was seemingly open the whole night. Meanwhile, the Steelers offense was ineffective, especially after Le’Veon Bell went down. So now the Belichick and Brady led Patriots head back to the Super Bowl for the zillionth time, meaning the rest of us to deal with another two weeks of insufferable New England fans screaming about karma from deflategate. There could not have been a stupider controversy in the history of sports that has resulted in such a massive chip on the shoulders of everyone player, person, or fan associated with that organization.
RH: Sunday night we saw an absolute clinic from the greatest quarterback we have ever seen. I really hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did because you just never know which Brady masterpiece will be his last. On the other sideline, Pittsburgh showed their true colors. I had my doubts about them entering the game and, as they’ve done all season, the Steelers failed to live up to even my modest expectations.
-Nick Bair, Jordan Curet & Randy Haines
Photo Credit: Growing Denver