NFL Takeaways – Championship Weekend

I hate the Patriots.

I hate how curt and dismissive their coach is.  I hate how their quarterback throws temper tantrums.  I hate that they cheat. I hate them.

But god dammit are they good.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are about to coach and play in their seventh Super Bowls.  When the game kicks off, 14% of all Super Bowls will have included those two men in their current roles – a statistic that doesn’t include the two championships Belichick won on Bill Parcells’ staff with the Giants.

They are the greatest coach of all time and the greatest quarterback of all time, and they may be days away from adding to their legacy.

Sports suck.

Falcons 44-21 Packers: The Falcons are for real.  It may seem obvious given that they’re about to play in the Super Bowl, but all season long, people have been slow to jump aboard the bandwagon of the league’s hottest offense, and ahead of each playoff game, pundits have been quick to question whether Matt Ryan was ready for a big spot.  He was.  The could-be MVP tore through the Packers’ defense on Sunday, going 27-for-38, for nearly 400 yards passing, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.  Julio Jones proved himself the best wide receiver in the league this weekend, as well, and most impressive, Atlanta’s improving defense shut down the hottest quarterback in recent history en route to a complete route.  They’ll be the underdogs in the Super Bowl, but don’t sleep on them – especially if they can get a repeat performance out of their defense.

Patriots 36-17 Steelers: The Steelers aren’t the best team in the AFC.  Again, that may seem obvious, but I’ve spent the better part of three months arguing that they are, so I should eat this plate of crow. They aren’t.  The Patriots dominated Pittsburgh on Sunday night, shutting down their should-be dynamic offense, and turning Chris Hogan wild on a young, suspect secondary.  Losing Le’Veon Bell early on didn’t help the Steelers, but it likely had little real effect.  The Patriots are better, and deserve to be the favorites going into Super Bowl 51.

Author: Joseph White

Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at