The second round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs is complete, with the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, and Green Bay Packers all moving on. Here is the schedule for next week's divisional round games:
Sunday, Jan. 22
(4) Green Bay Packers vs. (1) Atlanta Falcons, 3:05 p.m. ET, FOX
(4) Pittsburgh Steelers vs. (1) New England Patriots, 6:40 p.m. ET, CBS
Quick Look at the Playoff Games
- The Houston Texans got every possible break they could get from the Patriots to pull off an upset, and yet they still allowed New England to cover the 17 point spread in victory. That’s a testament to the system that Bill Belichick has had in place for all these years — it’s probably the most well-oiled machine in the history of the NFL.
- The Kansas City Chiefs scored two more touchdowns than the Pittsburgh Steelers did, but it was Pittsburgh’s playoff-record six field goals that led them to an 18-16 victory. It was a nice contrast from the down-to-the-wire shootout game we had seen earlier in the day, but Chiefs fans feel like they got the shaft with the holding penalty called on left tackle Eric Fisher on pass rusher James Harrison at the end of the game. It’s probably the right call, but you just hate to see that potential moment taken away.
- The Patriots own a 27-16 victory over the Steelers this year, but that game happened with Landry Jones under center. Pittsburgh’s defense continued to be physical against the Chiefs, and one could say that Ben Roethlisberger and company were off their game in the sense that they couldn’t convert for a single touchdown. However, I’ve seen the Steelers’ defense with some vulnerabilities, including in Week 17 against the Browns. New England won’t be intimidated by their defensive antics. We’ll be in for a good one with the AFC’s best.
- In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons had the most impressive victory of the weekend. The Seahawks could not stop their offense, and Matt Ryan has so many weapons that he’s comfortable going to. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the Falcons this year, but it was the first time I really got to sit down and watch them for four quarters. That is a Super Bowl-caliber team for certain.
- What more can you say about Green Bay vs. Dallas? It was one of the best playoff games I’ve ever seen, and certainly made up for the six playoff games that preceded it in 2017. Aaron Rodgers was on top of his game, but right when people started pulling out the “Dak is a rookie” card, he led his team to a big fourth quarter comeback. It turns out that tying the game was just the beginning of the fun. I’m a Browns fan, but I was shaking in front of my TV during those final few minutes. Mason Crosby and Dan Bailey came up clutch with 50+ yard field goals in the final two minutes, but Rodgers’ ridiculous throw to Jared Cook proved just how important that having the ball last is.
- Atlanta vs. Green Bay should be a dream come true for fans who love offense, and I love that one of those high-powered clubs will end up in the Super Bowl.