To loosely quote Meat Loaf: 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. I was a two-point conversion away from a possible Chiefs victory, and a possible 4 for 4, but I’m not complaining. 3 out of 4 ain’t bad, and I’m taking the momentum with me all the way to the Conference round. There are only 3 games left in this season and the two this weekend are the toughest ones yet, pitting teams with a history against each other.
Here are my Conference round picks…
(3) Pittsburgh @ (1) NEW ENGLAND – It would be very easy to simply pencil in the Patriots here without even analyzing the matchups. After all, Tom Brady has owned Ben Roethlisberger, they’re playing at home where they’re nearly unbeatable, and this is a revenge tour. Right? Actually, that’s the problem. Tom Brady has been able to do a lot with a little this season, but… Le’Veon Bell. He’s Mr. X in this situation. That, and the Pittsburgh offense after getting pretty much shut down. When they lost to the Eagles 34-3 in Week 3 this season they came back strong the next week. They won last week, but relying on strictly field goals is not the Steelers way. Bell will absolutely destroy the Patriots on the ground and in the passing game, and Big Ben will get his revenge. On the road. Finally. Pick – PITTSBURGH.
(4) Green Bay @ (2) ATLANTA – Put aside the 33-32 Atlanta win earlier this season. This is a completely different Falcons team that has taken the field since then. I don’t care about the Packers 8 game win streak, or the Hail Mary patterns of Aaron Rodgers. What I saw from the Falcons last week is a microcosm of the entire season for them, and that’s utter dominance. Matt Ryan should be the MVP this season, and for good reason. He finds the open receiver, and he finds him over and over again. But this game will revolve around the running backs. Coleman and Freeman will absolutely run over that Green Bay defense. This one will be as close as the one against Seattle last week. Falcons close out the Georgia Dome in style. Super Bowl bound. Pick – ATLANTA.