By Bo Pierce
The moment we’ve all been waiting for, the AFC Champs versus the NFC Champs; Super Bowl 51 is coming in a few weeks. These teams have been fighting all season for this moment, from wildcard to conference. Now only two teams remain, which one will win the biggest game of the season? Will it be the Patriots? Or will it be the Falcons? Let’s recap the second biggest round in all of football:
21 Packers 44 Falcons
The last time these teams faced off was Week 8b and Atlanta won 33-32 in the Georgia Dome. This game was predicted to be a high scoring game on each side, but Atlanta’s defense showed that they were Super Bowl caliber. Atlanta held Green Bay to 0 points in the first half, including a missed field goal and a fumble into the endzone by Ripkowski. Atlanta scored on multiple occasions including 3 touchdowns in the first half; two passes to Mohamed Sanu & to Julio Jones, plus a 14 yard run by Matty Ice himself. The first half ended 24-0, and as history has it the Packers have never won a game in which they were down by 24 or more points. In the 3rd Quarter, Packers defense was nowhere to be found as Julio Jones caught a short pass and took it 73 yards for a touchdown. The Pack got on the board with a 2 yard pass to Davante Adams, but the Falcons answered back with a 4 yard pass to Devonta Freeman; but the extra point was no good. Later on in the quarter, Packers scored a touchdown on a pas to Jordy Nelson for 3 yards. Packers attempted a two point conversion to make it a closer game, and they succeeded on the attempt to make the game 37- 15. In the 4th Quarter, the Falcons put the game to end on a Tevin Coleman 4 yard run to give Atlanta a 44-15 lead. Green Bay then scored on a one yard Jared Cook touchdown and went for the two point conversion. The conversion failed and that basically was the end of the game as Atlanta ran most of the clock out. The Falcons won 44-21, and are now headed to their second Super Bowl appearance.
17 Steelers 36 Patriots
These two teams faced off in Week 7 where the Patriots won 27-16 on the road in Heinz Field, but Big Ben wasn’t playing in that game. The Steelers run game went down early in the 1st Quarter with Le’Veon Bell suffering a groin injury, which helped the Patriots keep the Steelers out of scoring range. The Patriots scored 10 points in the 1st Quarter with a Stephen Gostkowski 31 yard field goal and a Chris Hogan reception of 16 yards. Steelers drove down the field first in the 2nd Quarter and scored on a DeAngelo Williams 5 yard run, but the extra point was missed. With the Steelers only down 10-6, Patriots Tom Brady put more points on the board with a 34 yard pass to Chris Hogan for a touchdown, Hogan’s second of the day. Steelers ended the scoring in the first half with a Chris Boswell 23 yard field goal to end the half 17-9. Pittsburgh received the ball in the second half, only to give the ball back to New England for them to score a 47 yard field goal to make the lead 20-9. Steelers then received the ball again, only to punt it back to New England. On their drive, the Patriots drove down the field and scored on a one yard run by LeGarrette Blount. Pittsburgh’s luck couldn’t have been worse as they fumbled the ball back to the Patriots, they then scored another touchdown with a 10 yard pass to Julian Edelman to end the 3rd Quarter 33-9 after they missed the extra point. After a couple of three and outs, Big Ben threw an interception that led to another field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to give the Patriots lead 36-9. With 6 minutes and 24 seconds left, Pittsburgh went down the field and scored on a 30 yard touchdown to Coby Hamilton. They then went for the two point conversion and succeeded to make the game 36-17. Patriots then ran out the clock and ended the game, New England is headed to it’s 9th Super Bowl; the most by any team in the NFL.
With the Super Bowl closing in, these two teams will have enough time to prepare for the biggest game of their season. Which team will bring the Lombardi Trophy back home, the Falcons or the Patriots?