What matters most for bettors as the National Football League playoffs wind down?
Jan 21 2017 by Dustin Murphy
With only four teams remaining, Richard Graves and Jim White have made their predictions for Championship Sunday.
And this time, they'll both be in uniform with a trip to Super Bowl LI in Houston for the victor as the Steelers travel to Foxborough, Mass., where they will meet the Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Richard: What a game this promises to be. With Blount as Bell's backup, Pittsburgh possessed one of the better backfield duos in the NFL. One thing you can usually count on is them finishing near the top of the league in turnover differential.
If the Patriots lose Sunday, detractors won't just have the satisfaction of seeing Bill Belichick lose; they'll suddenly have an argument that his reign over the AFC over the years hasn't been all it's been cracked up to be. But that doesn't mean they've protected the ball all that well. They're doing a great job. "It's going to come down to which team is going to perform the best on Sunday and who makes the least mistakes".
Coincidentally, the New York Post also went with a Star Wars theme before the Jets played the Patriots in the playoffs following the 2010 season. They've won both times.
That could spell trouble against the Patriots' defense, which surrendered just 15.6 points per game during the regular season and a mere 11.5 points per game over their past six games. They aren't really takes as much as they are facts of life. I can not wait for this. The teams would have as many Super Bowl titles since '05 and the Pats would have one more conference championship while only missing the playoffs once. The Patriots and Steelers have the most balanced defenses of the four teams left in the Super Bowl hunt. He also played an uneven game against the NFL's No. 1 ranked defense last week in the Patriots' win over the Texans.
However, the Steelers are appearing in their 16th Championship game and have gone on to win the Super Bowl on six occasions - both National Football League records. Shazier will be looking to extend his streak of interceptions to five games, which would be a franchise record. Such a degree of unpredictability continues to be an edge for New England. If cornerback Malcolm Butler, free safety Devin McCourty and a pass rush featuring a bunch of players, including the emerging Trey Flowers, can disconnect Roethlisberger to Brown, the Steelers are in trouble. They both have more than enough speed to ensure the offensive linemen can not set up for a bull rush. Then Tom Brady, followed by Dont'a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater. "And I sat out there for a long time and watched the confetti, and I never wanted to feel that feeling ever again", said Ward.
We'll have to wait until this weekend to find out if the Steelers' rebel alliance can overthrow the Patriots empire.
If history is any guide, look for the Patriots to stop the pass and take their chances with Bell on the ground.
As most remember, Brady was injured during the 2008 season, and Matt Cassel was thrust into starting for the Patriots.