NFL · Sports

Flamin’ Four – Championship Weekend

The best time of year is here, it’s Championship Weekend! There is a lot to look forward to on Sunday. 4 great teams, 4 great quarterbacks and 4 incredible stories coming into Sunday. With that being said, this week’s picks might be the toughest ones this season. However, my takes on the playoffs have been pretty spot with a 6-2 record so far. Last week, Matt Ryan picked apart Seattle, Dion Lewis showed out, Aaron Rodgers had another Aaron Rodgers moment and the Steelers won without scoring a touchdown. Who advances to the Super Bowl? Let’s get to some picks

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers. If you watched ESPN or Fox Sports at all this week then this is all you heard and I totally understand why. Everyone know Rodgers is spectacular and will have a huge impact on the game, but let’s focus on some other factors that I believe will lead… to victory. All the Packers receivers are active today, although that is great news we won’t know how ‘healthy’ they actually are until game time. On the other side, the Falcons are extremely healthy, with the exception of Julio Jones, and I think that widely talented receiving core for Atlanta will tear apart Green Bay’s secondary. For all that, Rodgers will make up the difference in the passing game making each game equally dangerous. That brings me to my hot take of the week Ty Montgomery vs. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Most people know Green Bay has struggled to development a running game over the past few years and for the second half of the season Montgomery has filled that void exceptionally well. Yet, the best 1-2 running back punch in the league stands on the other side for Atlanta and don’t be surprised if Atlanta runs for nearly 200 yards on Sunday. Last week, Zeke has a field day against the Packers averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Matty Ice and ARod will battle it out all day, but it’ll be Freeman and Coleman that bring Atlanta to its 2nd Super Bowl.

Atlanta (41-38)

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

14 of the last 16 Super Bowls have included either Ben, Brady or Peyton. Every time I hear that stat it amazes me the dominance by three guys in the AFC and shows me that you have to have an elite quarterback in the NFL to win Super Bowls. This game brings together two future hall of famers at quarterback at it’ll be widely entertaining. The Patriots have always given the Steelers secondary fits and Gronkowski has been the center of that, but as you know he won’t be playing today. On the other side, Big Ben has been able to pick apart New England defenses like no other quarterback. However, like I said in the last pick let’s not focus on the quarterbacks and look at the X factors. The main X factor of this game will turnovers. New England’s defense hasn’t wowed anyone this season, but has been arguably the most consistent this season. Pittsburgh’s defense has been the league’s most improved defense over the course of the season and you can easily say that they played better than the offense last week and won the game. James Harrison will disrupt Brady just like Von Miller did in last year’s AFC Championship. The Steelers win their 10th game in a row seeking the stairway to seven.

Pittsburgh (31-28)

I encourage you to comment below and share your thoughts and feelings on who you think will win this week or the weeks to come. Also, you can email me (hartshornthomas@gmail.com) if you’d like to discuss the playoff in more detail or talk about any sports topics you would like for me write about in the future.

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