AFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

logo01Pittsburgh @ New England (-6), Sunday, 6:40 pm

The Playoffs are back!!  Hot damn!  Those Divisional Games were awesome.  Aaron Rodgers moved from ‘Elite’ to ‘Legendary’ status with one throw.  Seriously.  Moving to his left, throws a 37 yard rope along the sidelines to a sliding/kneeling Jared Cook.  Nice catch too…but that throw!

The Steelers-Chiefs game was compelling in its own right; what with the touchdown, made-two-point-conversion-called-back-due-to-holding followed by a failed two-point conversion in the last two minutes.  Good stuff.  But the highlight came about 7 minutes after the game, when Antonio Brown (genius) decided to Facebook Live the Steelers lock room.  Thanks for this gem AB:

It’s mostly just AB running his hands through his hair, flashing the “call me” sign and showing teammates bragging, dancing, swearing, undressing and just goofing around.  15 of the 17 minutes basically goes like this….”God is good man….we at fucking 42k…..bang bang bang….we live…God is the greatest”…Oh, and Antonio thought it’d be a great idea (which it was) to keep the video rolling during coach Tomlins postgame address.  You know, the one where he calls the Patriots a bunch of assholes (more on that in a bit) among other things.  But the best part is Tomlin literally telling the guys to “keep a low profile….be cool on social media” and “keep your mouth shut”.  At one point LeVeon Bell turns to Brown and snickers something about keeping it cool on social media.  Brown is unfazed, continuing to stream away.  It’s ridiculous and glorious at the same time.  Social media is going to be a torn in the NFLs side for a long time to come.

Tomlin, Brown and the Steelers went to work on damage control.  But honestly, the comments were pretty harmless and much ado about nothing.  Seriously, how can that be considered “bulletin board material?”  The Patriots are assholes!!  I know it, you know it, hell even they know it. Tom Brady is a giant asshole, but he’s just following the lead of his lying, cheating asshole coach.  But it starts at the top; Bob Kraft is a walking, talking live-action asshole.  Come to think of it, the city of Boston is filled with only assholes.

And you thought that foul smell was from all the beans they eat!

And you thought that foul smell was from all the beans they eat!

With all that said, on to the game!

What a matchup.  Two prolific offenses.  Two HOF quarterbacks.  Two dynamic running backs.  Two bend-but-don’t-break defenses.  While everyone is expecting a shootout between the Packers-Falcons, this one certainly could go down that road.

The matchup to watch

The matchup to watch

This game will be a rematch of Week 7….sort of.  The Patriots won, 27-16 in convincing fashion.  Much has been made this week that Belichick used Malcolm Brown to shadow, and contain Antonio Brown (57.4 passer rating when thrown to, 0 TD, 1 INT ….@NFLReasearch).  I’m going to go ahead and take that game- and those stats- with a giant Himalayan rock crystal of salt for one reason: Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play.  Landry Jones was on the other end of those AB throws.  And Brown still finish the game with 7 REC for 106 YDS.  More impressive however was the Patriots containment of LeVeon Bell, whom only average 3.9 yards per carry.  Bell did most of this damage through the air (as a result of playing from behind), adding 10 REC for 68 YDS.  Meanwhile, Tom Brady was his ever efficient self, going 19/26 for 222 YDS and 2 TDS.  LeGarrette Blount carried the mail with 27 carries for 127 YDS and 2 TDS.

Like I said, the Steelers were without Big Ben.  And the Patriots had Gronk in that game.  Week 7 was a long time ago.

12 to 11, all day

12 to 11, all day

The Patriots have had an easy playoff run so far: bye week and a cakewalk past the Texans.  On the other hand, the Steelers faced a feisty Miami team and a tough Kansas City team in hostile territory.  The Patriots are going to try to wear the Steelers defense away with their intermediate passing attack that features Julian Edelman and a healthy Dion Lewis.  I’d be shocked if Edelmen doesn’t catch 10 balls this week.  Blount could be in for another heavy usage game if the Patriots can build an early lead.

The Steelers do have weapons galore on offense, so they should be able to keep it within striking distance.  But they aren’t going to beat the Patriots by settling for FGs like they did against the Chiefs.  I’d expect Tomlin to be aggressive all day, particularly in the redzone.

We’ve been crowning the Patriots the AFC Champs for 3 weeks now (it makes us nauseous too).  It seems like a forgone conclusion.  Bettors agree, pushing the line to NE -6.  I think it’ll be much closer than that and I won’t be shocked if Pittsburgh wins this game outright!

Pittsburgh 25, New England 27

Who ya got?

Who ya got?

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