Advertisement
  1. Bucs

NFL conference title games: Packers-Falcons, Steelers-Patriots

Published Jan. 22, 2017

Conference title games

NFC: Packers (12-6) at Falcons (12-5), 3

TV/radio: Fox; 102.5-FM

Line/OU: Falcons by 6; 60

Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers has 21 TD passes and one INT during eight-game win streak; Atlanta's Matt Ryan has 18 TD passes and three INTs in past eight games. On defense, Packers rank 22nd overall (31st vs. pass); Falcons rank 25th (28th vs. pass). Over/under of 60 is highest for any postseason game since records were kept beginning in 1980, according to of pregame.com. Packers' biggest injury issue is at receiver, with starters Jordy Nelson (broken rips) and Davante Adams (ankle) questionable. Rookie Geronimo Allison (hamstring) out of Spoto High also is questionable. Coach Mike McCarthy has said all three might be game-time decisions. The team promoted rookie Max McCaffrey on Saturday from the practice squad to add depth. Falcons 5-3 all time at home in postseason. Ryan would set NFL record by passing for at least three TDs in fourth straight postseason game. Devonta Freeman has 10 rushing TDs in past six home games, including postseason. LB Vic Beasley had sack in regular-season meeting between the teams — won 33-32 by Falcons in Week 8 at Atlanta — and led NFL with 15½.

AFC: Steelers (13-5) at Patriots (15-2), 6:40

TV/radio: CBS; 102.5-FM

Line: Patriots by 6; 50½

New England leads playoff series 3-1, including winning previous two matchups in AFC title games in 2005 and 2002 played in Pittsburgh. Patriots went on to win Super Bowl both seasons. New England has won past three meetings overall, including wins in past two regular seasons. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger is 3-1 as starting QB in AFC title game. He has 13-6 career postseason record. Team has relied heavily on Roethlisberger in recent matchups with Pats, throwing for 350 or more yards in four of his past five meetings with New England. Last week, RB Le'Veon Bell became first player in NFL history to rush for at least 150 yards in each of his first two playoff games. WR Antonio Brown had six catches for 108 yards against Kansas City last week, his fourth straight playoff game with at least 100 yards receiving. LB James Harrison is looking for fifth consecutive playoff game with at least one sack. New England is first team since 1970 merger to advance to six straight AFC title games. Pats are 5-1 in conference title games at home. Tom Brady's 23 playoff wins are most by starting QB in league history.

Times wires