AFC Championship Game predictions, betting tips and match preview

Leigh Copson in Weekly Tips 20 Jan 2017
Steelers to spring an upset? (credit:Leigh Copson)

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots predictions for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. A place in Super Bowl LI is the prize for the winner of this clash between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots – but who will be heading to Houston? Read on for our all our free AFC Championship Game predictions and betting tips. 

AFC Championship Game Predictions

AFC Championship Game Betting Tips Explained

The New England Patriots are in the AFC Championship Game for the sixth season running – a truly remarkable record – and they go into Sunday’s game with a perfect 5-0 record in championship match-ups held at their Gillette Stadium home. Can Pittsburgh become the first team to get the better of the Patriots in a championship game on their home turf during the Bill Belichick era, or will Tom Brady & Co. leave the field with another Super Bowl appearance wrapped up?

The Steelers cruised through Wildcard Weekend as they blew away the Miami Dolphins, but their Divisional Round match-up with Kansas City was much tougher work - as expected. Le’Veon Bell racked up the yards yet again, but Pittsburgh needed the boot of their kicker to see off the Chiefs after they failed to score a single touchdown. However, this not the time to start questioning that Pittsburgh offense and star performers Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell - we have seen more than enough to know they can take apart any defense in the National Football League on their day.

In fact, I fancy Pittsburgh to spring an upset on Sunday and book their place in Houston. The Patriots may boast a perfect home record in championship games, but they are far from invincible and have already lost a couple of home games this season - to the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. They also made hard work of last weekend’s Divisional Round clash with Houston. Backup Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler threw three interceptions to give New England the openings they needed to win the game, and it is fair to say that Roethlisberger & Co. are a big step up from that Texans offense. That will be a telling factor here.

New England’s defense may have ranked number one overall, but there are flaws when it comes to the passing game and the running ability of Bell will only help the Steelers find more openings. On the opposite side of the football this Pittsburgh team is playing some excellent defense right now, so the recipe is there for an upset. Le’Veon Bell can play his part having rushed for 337 yards and two touchdowns in the post-season already, while Antonio Brown is a great bet to add to his team-leading 12 touchdowns.

AFC Championship Game Stats

There have been 29 meetings between Pittsburgh and New England over the years, and the Steelers have the most slender of series leads having won 15 of those encounters. However, the Patriots are 3-1 when it comes to playoff showdowns between the two teams and they have won four of the last five encounters at Gillette Stadium.

These two teams have met once already this season, at Heinz Field back in late October, and the New England Patriots restricted Pittsburgh to just six points in the second half as they ran out 27-16 winners. However, it must be noted that the Steelers were without an injured Ben Roethlisberger on that night, with Landry Jones at the controls, and Le’Veon Bell was still getting up to speed after missing the first three weeks of the season.

AFC Championship Game Predictions

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AFC Championship Game predictions, betting tips and match preview

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots predictions for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

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