Aaron Rodgers completed 27-of-45 passes for 287 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the Packers' 44-21 loss to the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.
After it initially looked like Rodgers’ 2015 funk was carrying over to another campaign, the best overall player in the league was transcendent the final two-thirds of the season. Rodgers posted a 30:3 TD:INT total over his final 11 starts, and tore up the Giants and Cowboys in the postseason before the Packers ran into the Falcons’ buzzsaw. Rodgers totaled 40 scores during the regular season, good for the second 40-TD season of his career, and 12th in league history. Now 33, Rodgers picked up a few soft-tissue injuries, but appeared in all 16 games for the third-consecutive year. If the Pack could ever get Rodgers a consistent running game or defense, they will win another Super Bowl.
Matt Ryan completed 27-of-38 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns in the Falcons' NFC Championship Game victory over the Packers.
Ryan was scary good, surgically guiding the Falcons’ offense to score after score. He was doing so against a comically undermanned defense, but Ryan has been shredding all comers for all of 2016-17. He looked genuinely unstoppable this afternoon, spreading the ball around to every Falcons skill player and always locating the open man. He entered halftime with 271 yards. Ryan is the leader of a well-oiled machine, one that will have a great chance of bringing home the Falcons’ first Lombardi regardless of their Super Bowl LI opponent.
Martellus Bennett (knee) is active for the AFC Championship Game.
Bennett has been banged up for nearly all of 2016-17, but his status was not in doubt. Bennett is a red zone threat who hasn't done much compiling since his health went south.
Patriots WR Michael Floyd is a healthy scratch for the AFC Championship Game.
Floyd was dreadful in last week's win over the Texans, and is paying the price with everything on the line for the Patriots this evening. Malcolm Mitchell is active, and should return to his pre-Floyd snaps/usage level.
Ladarius Green (concussion) is inactive for the AFC Championship Game.
Green's concussion has lingered long enough that he should be considered no better than 50-50 for a potential Super Bowl appearance in two weeks. Also inactive for the Steelers are WR Demarcus Ayers, QB Zach Mettenberger, CB Al-Hajj Shabazz, LB L.J. Fort, DE Johnny Maxey and OT Brian Mihalik,
Malcolm Mitchell (knee) is active for the AFC Championship Game.
With Michael Floyd a healthy scratch, Mitchell should see a ton of snaps against the Steelers. In addition to Floyd, inactive for the Patriots are QB Jacoby Brissett, RB D.J. Foster, OT LaAdrian Waddle, CB Cyrus Jones, CB Justin Coleman and S Jordan Richards.
FOX's Jay Glazer reports Julio Jones is playing through three separate foot injuries in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.
Per Glazer, Jones has two ligament issues in his toe in addition to a "mid-foot" ailment. Glazer says Jones is playing though a "lot" of pain. Jones caught two passes on Atlanta's opening drive, so the injuries haven't been an issue on the field yet.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports the Falcons will look at Chip Kelly to replace likely-departing OC Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan is fully expected to become the 49ers' next head coach, leaving the Falcons with a vacancy at coordinator. Kelly was a serious candidate for the Jaguars' coordinator job and will reportedly meet with Bill Belichick about a position with the Patriots. Switching to Kelly's scheme would be a risk for the most potent attack in the league, but it is reasonable to believe Kelly will have much more success if he is allowed to just focus on the offensive side of the ball. Even so, the Falcons would be wise to look for some continuity with their next coordinator.