Who will be Super Bowl bound?

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

The road to the Super Bowl has never looked so good. All four competing quarterbacks—Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger—have solidified a spot in the elite category, which makes this weekend’s matchups a must see.

Bill Belichick’s team has won all but one home playoff game in its past eight appearances, dating back to 2011. This year has the potential to follow that trend for what is one of the most dominant franchises in recent sports history. However, drawing the Steelers is no automatic win. In fact, it could lead to an upset.

The Patriots are notorious for constructing a game plan that makes a dynamic team one-dimensional, and against the Steelers, that means containing the fiery hot Le’Veon Bell, who broke the NFL record for most rushing yards in a player’s first two postseason games, 337 yards. With the spotlight on Bell, the Patriots are going to have to shift a safety over to help cover arguably the best wide receiver in the game, Antonio Brown, or else it might be a hard fight for the New England defense.

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Both teams can run the ball, which ultimately sets up both veteran quarterbacks for big plays downfield. But let’s not forget, Big Ben is still considered a mobile quarterback, which the Patriots have struggled against this season as both of their loses were to the Bills’ Tyrod Taylor and the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson.

On the other side, there must be something in the cheese over in Green Bay, Wis. because Aaron Rodgers is currently muscling the entire Packers squad through the postseason.

It can be said that Rodgers is one of the best improvisational quarterbacks ever to play the game, thanks to his ability to extend plays and complete a pass from any direction.

Last game, Rodgers heroically carried his discount double check belt into JerryWorld and threw a 36-yard dart to tight end Jared Cook to set up the eventual game-winning field goal as time expired.

The Packers probably have the most uplifting matchup this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons. Because these two quarterbacks are trying to build upon their MVP resumes, it has the makings of a high-scoring bout.

Matt Ryan led the most proficient offense in the NFL this season, but both teams have one common fault, their best weapons are limping into Sunday’s game; Falcons’ Julio Jones has a toe injury, and Packers’ Jordy Nelson has a rib injury. What the Falcons have going for them is home-dome advantage, but what the Packers have is a quarterback that is playing like it’s 2011, when the cheeseheads won the Super Bowl as a sixth seed.

Ryan can outscore Rodgers in the MVP candidate tug-of-war, but how much the Falcons’ defense can pressure Rodgers will determine who rides to Houston and who watches from the couch.