On Sunday the Atlanta Falcons (13-5) beat the Green Bay Packers 44-21 to win the NFC title while the New England Patriots (16-2) took down the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to take the AFC title. Many expected both events to be high scoring, but very few thought that one team would dominate the other in both games. Here’s a review of the 2017 NFL Conference championship games.
Odds makers were looking for closer contests as the Falcons were four-point favorites and the Patriots were six. The over/under for NFC contest was 59.5, while the AFC game came in at 49.5. Betting Brain had the Falcons, the Patriots and the over on both games. It was a clean sweep for our website crew of prognosticators. Now comes the hard work of trying to figure the outcome of the Super Bowl.
Atlanta Falcons Churn Out Points
The Falcon offense has been a buzz saw for almost the entire season. They have continued to be one in the playoffs scoring touchdown after touchdown. Quarterback Matt Ryan completed 70% of his passes and threw four touchdown passes. He was not sacked once and did not give up a pick. Falcon running backs totaled 101 yards in the game. Atlanta rushed for two scores, including a rare 14-yard jaunt by Ryan for a score. WR Julio Jones caught two TD passes while he averaged 20 yards per catch and had a total of nine receptions for 180 yards.
At the same time as they have been for the past seven games, the Atlanta defense was once again stellar. They had 5.5 TFL and two sacks. Safety Ricardo Allen intercepted Aaron Rodgers once. Also, Green fumbled once and lost that fumble. The Packers were shutout in the first half as the Falcons went to the locker room ahead by 24 points.
Patriots Overwhelm One Dimensional Steelers
It might have been a closer game if the Steelers had not lost running back Le’Veon Bell in the first half. Pats’ quarterback Tom Brady completed 76% of his passes throwing for 384 yards and hitting for three touchdowns. WR Chris Hogan caught two TD passes, including a flea flicker, and Julian Edelman had one scoring catch. Hogan, who averaged 20 yards per catch, has nine receptions for 180 yards. Edelman caught eight passes for 118 yards.
Pats’ deed back Eric Rowe notched an interception while defensive end Rob Ninkovich recovered a fumble by Steeler WR Eli Rodgers. New England had a big goal line stand against Pittsburgh at the end of the second quarter when the Patriot defense stopped the Steelers on a fourth down. In doing so they denied a TD to wideout Jesse James as he was downed on the Pats’ the one-yard line. At the same time, Pittsburgh’s defense made numerous mistakes, leaving Patriot receivers wide open.
2017 NFL Conference Championship Games
In the end both 2017 NFL Conference Championship games were easily won by the favorites. At this point, New England is -3.0 for the Super Bowl and the over/under is -59.5. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be posting a wide range of articles on Super Bowl LI, including those offering analysis of each team, spread and over/under picks, and even some prop bets. Continue to check Betting Brain for information on the Super Bowl as well as the Pro Bowl and a wide range of other sports.