NFL playoff predictions: championship week

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NFC

Sunday 2:05 CT Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Atlanta Falcons (11-5)

How they got here: Atlanta dominated the Seahawks 36-20 a week ago, in a noisy and rocking Georgia Dome. The Cowboys left 35 seconds on the clock for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as they went on the road to beat Dallas for their eighth win in a row.

Matchup to watch: Devonta Freeman (ATL RB) vs Ty Montgomery (GB RB)

Much will be made of the quarterback battle in this game featuring two of the front runners for league MVP. Expect a lot of yards in the passing game but the difference in this game could come down to which signal caller gets the most help from their run game.

Winner: This game might come down to the very last possession. My advice to Dan Quinn and Atlanta… Don’t give number 12 more than twenty seconds. Falcons 45-41.

AFC

Saturday 5:40 CT Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) at New England Patriots (14-2)

How they got here: Last week in Arrowhead, Pittsburgh connected on six field goals to beat the Chiefs 18-16. New England beat the Texans by 18 but don’t forget it was a one possession game in the fourth quarter. An eight-game win streak versus a nine-game win streak, insert the fire emojis.

Matchup to watch: Antonio Brown (PIT WR) vs Malcolm Butler (NE CB)

Bill Belichick is known to take away the opponent’s best player and he will likely use the Super Bowl hero along with a safety over the top. Brown had seven catches for over a hundred yards when these two teams played in late October and that was with Landry Jones at quarterback, not Big Ben.

Winner: Tom Brady is already the best quarterback to ever play in the playoffs. While Pittsburgh’s big three has had a fantastic year, you should put your money on Brady-Belichick come January in Foxboro. Patriots 29-23.

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Brad Thompson is a Contributing Writer for the Chronicle/NCClinked.

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