With a win, this evening, either the Patriots or the Steelers return to the Super Bowl for a record ninth time.
Sunday’s American Football Conference Championship Game pits the two teams that have ruled the AFC this millennium. Including next month’s game in Houston, either the Steelers or Patriots will have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl ten times since 2001.
The winner will go to the Super Bowl for the ninth time…most in NFL history. If there is a better barometer for continued excellence, I don’t know it.
Since 2003 the AFC has been represented once in the Super Bowl by a QB not named Brady, Roethlisberger or Manning. That was in 2012 with Joe Flacco
Ryan leads the team with 92 tackles and is solid in run support as well as three QB hits and a sack blitzing from the slot.
This is where we’re supposed to join in on the chorus forewarning you not to overlook the Texans and that they’re a different team than the unit than Week 3
Houston has two big tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz caught 54 passes for 559 yards and four touchdowns. Ryan Griffin made 50 catches for 442 yards and 2 TDs.
The New England Patriots are the number one seed in the playoffs. The Pats finished the NFL 2016 regular season with a 14-2 record. Despite the best efforts of Roger Goodell on behalf of certain despicable owners such as Jim Irsay, Woody Jones, John Mara, Jerry Jones, no other team finished with a better record than the Patriots.
Pittsburgh and Houston are locked in as the number three and four seeds respectively. That leaves three games to determine the conference playoff seeding. The three AFC games that actually matter today are Miami at New England, Kansas City at San Diego and Oakland at Denver. There are a total of eight possible combined outcomes to those games.
The Buccaneers deserve their own category simply because their playoff scenario is stranger than Rex Ryan’s proclivity for hidden cameras in an orthopedic surgeon’s office. Not only do the Bucs need a game to end in a tie, they also need two meaningless non-conference games to end in their favor. Oh, and for the Niners to beat Seattle too.
For most of the season the topic of conversation in regards to the New England Patriots has centered on the performance of the offensive line. While that unit has at times deserved scrutiny, the return of Sebastian Vollmer has seemed to have stabilized the group. Overlooked has been what may be the real Achilles heel for this squad as they battle the Denver Broncos on Sunday: the team’s third down defense.
The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers have both opened up as 3-point favorites in early odds for the NFL conference championship games for the 2015-2016 season. The Patriots travel to Denver to play the Broncos at 3:00 pm ET on Sunday, while the Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals at 6:40 pm Sunday. The notable difference in these two betting lines is that New England is a 3-point favorite despite playing on the road, while Carolina is only favored by three while playing at home.
|USA TODAY - May 26th, 2022|