AP Analysis: Road trips end badly for Packers, Steelers

Matt Ryan celebrates after defeating the Green Bay Packers

Thanks to a compelling Super Bowl LI matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, there's a chance these playoffs end on a high note.

He elected not to attend the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, opting, instead, to attend the Falcons game for a second consecutive week.

So it will be the New England Patriots vs the Atlanta Falcons at Superbowl LI, which takes place on February 5th at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. "I was sitting there saying "We won the toss, great.' I was gonna sit down, and he goes 'We've got the ball" and I was like 'What?"

"I told him, 'We want to play in the Super Bowl in 2019.' He texted me back saying, 'I plan on getting their sooner.' So maybe I didn't expect this but Dan did". Matt Ryan went 27-of-38 for 392 yards and had 4 touchdown passes. It is a cloud of oppression, one that gets worse as I watch my friends and Twitter timeline embrace the Packers and Aaron Rodgers through their excellence and destruction of the Cowboys.

The Atlanta Falcons spent 25 years playing in the Georgia Dome, and they saved their best for last.

"We'll enjoy this", Ryan said after earning his first Super Bowl trip in his ninth season, "but we've got some work to do". The Falcons have only been this far one time before, long before their second-year coach won his players over with a message of unity, love and toughness that landed them in the Super Bowl. While a DeAngelo Williams touchdown run and a field goal kept the Ben Roethlisberger led Steelers in touch.

Then there are Quinn's cornerback blitzes, which saw rookie Brian Poole (Florida) almost kill Rodgers on a free edge blitz once late in the second half - if you haven't seen the play, you live under a rock.

For the later game, the Steelers travelled to the fortress at Foxsborough.

This element of the Falcons' game plan, therefore, is the wild card of this Super Bowl.

"Being able to sleep in your own bed and practice and not have to travel and have the fan support, it makes a big difference".

And as well as Brady played - 32 for 42 for 384 yards, those three scores and zero interceptions - it was the way New England's defense played that stood out. "He's one of many reasons we are heading to the Super Bowl and we are very confident that we can win the it".

Roger Goodell has avoided New England during the playoffs. Five Falcons rushed the quarterback on that play, but sometimes it's only four, other times it's three and a spy, others it's just three or four on the inside but a corner suddenly flies free into the backfield from the outside.

And Pittsburgh (12-6) just couldn't keep up with Tom Brady after losing Le'Veon Bell after the first quarter with a groin injury and lost for the first time since November 13.

Now, the two will be in Houston.

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