After this past weekend, the stage is set for the Championship Round in the 2016 NFL season. The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons blew out their opponents, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers were able to squeak out with victories.
But which teams are the most suited to win the Super Bowl and add another Lombardi Trophy to their case? Lets power rank these teams....
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are like many teams on this list, where they have a great offense and an awful defense. The only thing that separates the Steelers with the Packers and Falcons is the level of play from the quarterback and the pieces around them. While Roethlisberger is one of the great quarterbacks of his generation, he has slowed down considerably, and it was wildly apparent to me on Sunday that he was not healthy. Every time he would take a shot, it would take him a hell of a lot of time to get back up.
Thankfully, the Steelers do not need to rely on Big Ben, as Le'Veon Bell has become to focal point of that offense. His ability to wait behind the line of scrimmage for a seam to open up is unlike anything I have ever seen before. However, even with Bell's greatness, I do not think he will be able to singlehandedly will the Steelers to a victory over the Patriots, much less in the Super Bowl. Couple the struggles of Big Ben with the Steelers' inability to convert in the red zone and a questionable defense, and I believe we will see their season end on Sunday.
3. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are probably the most dangerous team on this entire list. In stark contrast to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the level of play they have been able to get out of their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, has put them back into contention for a Lombardi trophy after starting the season 4-6. While I still believe Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL, no one can compare to Rodgers when he is in one of these grooves.
However, we saw Rodgers make mistakes, force balls into double coverage, and extend plays just a tad too long last week against a pretty average Dallas Cowboys defense. The key to defeating Aaron Rodgers is collapsing the pocket and forcing him to throw the football when he does not want to. While the Packers may have more talent offensively than the Atlanta Falcons and perhaps even the New England Patriots, they simply aren't a complete enough team for me to believe they can win the Super Bowl.
2. Atlanta Falcons
As east coast, AFC-leaning fans, many members of Patriots Nation have not seen or heard much about the Atlanta Falcons. Former BC Eagle quarterback Matt Ryan put together his best season as a professional and will probably win the MVP award. Julio Jones has established himself, if he wasn't already, as one of the best wide receivers in all of football.
The Falcons were able to take down the Seahawks with relative ease last week, but this is not the same Seattle team that we have seen in the past. Without Earl Thomas, who was busy tweeting like a bitch at Tom Brady, and Richard Sherman, who mysteriously has a serious knee injury now, the Seahawks were destined to bow out of the playoffs early this year. The Falcons are a more complete team than the Green Bay Packers, and their championship weekend matchup will ultimately come down to who can make that one key stop, and I simply don't see that guy on the Packers team right now.
1. New England Patriots
Yes, I am biased. Yes, I am a Patriots fan. Yes, I think Tom Brady is The Messiah. But come on, guys. When will people stop doubting the Patriots? They have been doing this for 17 freaking years! People are constantly saying Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are over the hump and will, as Max Kellerman said, "fall off a cliff." Newsflash, that day is not today. Tom Brady is playing the best football of his career and the Patriots have the best remaining defense out of the teams listed above.
Sure, the Patriots played a terrible game last week against the Houston Texans, but when was the last time the Patriots went out and played consecutive weeks of poor football? Anyone? No? NEVER.
I will continue to put all my poker chips on the New England Patriots until the clock ticks to zero in the fourth quarter. NEVER bet against this team.