The NFL's version of the Final Four is official, as the conference championship participants have been decided.
The Green Bay Packers will face the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. on Fox, while the Pittsburgh Steelers head to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots on the same day at 6:40 p.m. on CBS.
Here's a look at the standings of the 12 postseason teams following the first two rounds, the latest NFL playoff bracket and predictions for the conference championship games.
|New England Patriots||15-2|
|Kansas City Chiefs||12-5|
|Green Bay Packers||12-6|
|New York Giants||11-6|
NFL Playoff Bracket
NFC Championship Game Prediction
On October 30, the last time these two teams played, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan engineered a 75-yard touchdown drive in the last minute to give the Falcons a 33-32 win in the Georgia Dome.
It would be no surprise if Sunday's rematch has a similar result, with both teams scoring above 30 and one snatching victory right before the final whistle.
Neither team can stop the other on defense. Both secondaries are hampered by injuries, and both offensive lines have been keeping their quarterbacks clean lately, which means Rodgers and Ryan will have plenty of time to properly execute their offenses.
In fact, the Packers might have the best left tackle in the game. Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report said as much after David Bakhtiari briefly left the Cowboys game with an injury on Sunday:
In a battle of the hottest offense in football against the best offense in football this season, the answer about which team wins might be the one that has the ball last.
But betting against Rodgers is a risky proposition. Expect him to make another big play late and for the Packers to squeak by Atlanta 38-34.
AFC Championship Game Prediction
Le'Veon Bell is playing fantastic football, and he's the engine driving the Steelers. However, he's running into a big problem on Sunday. Namely, the Patriots defense has been fantastic this season, allowing the fewest points per game.
Pat Thorman of Pro Football Focus tweeted about the Pats run defense on Monday:
Bell couldn't get much going when these two teams faced off in October, as he only rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries. He did catch 10 passes for 68 yards, however.
Still, the Patriots defense might be a little too strong in a game in which the Steelers might have to surpass 30 points to win. The Pats averaged 27.5 points per game in the regular season, and they allowed a league-low 250 total points throughout the entire year.
With all due respect to Pittsburgh, which has had a good season, the Pats are likely a cut above the rest of the NFL. New England wins 31-24.