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Prisco's Picks: Week 20

 
 
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WEEK
20
 
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017
 
Green Bay
Packers
31
This shapes up as an offensive fanís delight. Both teams can score a lot of points, and neither defense is great. The Falcons rolled past Seattle last week behind the play of Matt Ryan and the offense, while the Packers won at Dallas behind Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. The game will be played on a fast track, which is why I still think the offenses will rule. These two quarterbacks are playing as well as at any point in their careers -- and thatís saying something with Rodgers. The Falcons beat the Packers 33-32 on Oct. 30, but that was a different Green Bay team. They have ripped off eight consecutive victories behind Rodgersí torrid play. This will come down to which one of the defenses can get a stop late. That will be the Falcons. I think a sack late by Beasley to stop a Green Bay drive will be the difference here. Falcons take a tight one to get to the Super Bowl.
Result: Atlanta Falcons 44, Green Bay Packers 21
Atlanta
Falcons
38
 
 
Pittsburgh
Steelers
20
The Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16 in October, but that was a Steelers team without Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have also made big strides on defense. Running back LeíVeon Bell is on a tear right now, rushing for 330 yards in two playoff games. He has to be controlled here. The Patriots do a great job of taking away your best offensive options, but who is that in this one? Is it Bell or receiver Antonio Brown? I think the focus will be on Bell. That will put a lot of pressure on the passing game. Tom Brady has 26 touchdown passes and three interceptions in his 11 games against the Steelers. That will put a premium on the Steelers secondary and pass rush. If they can hit Brady, they have a chance. But with two rookie starters in the secondary, thatís asking a lot. I think this will be close for a while, but in the end the Patriots will pull away and advance to another Super Bowl.
Result: New England Patriots 36, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
New England
Patriots
27
 
 
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