After 19 weeks, the NFL season is coming to a close. For many football fans like us, the off-season represents a period of great uncertainty.

We become irritable, confused, unable to imagine Sundays without the comforting relentlessness of nine or so hours of gridiron action. We know there will be things to occupy the game's absence, but, deep down, we wonder if they will really be better than the final two minutes of last week's Cowboys vs Packers game?

Who knows. But before you let the off-season keep you up a night or affect your sex life, remember there are still three games left! Starting with this Sunday's Conference Championship games - otherwise known as the NFL's semi-finals. This weekend, the Green Bay Packers face the Atlanta Falcons, and the Pittsburgh Steelers meet the New England Patriots, with the winners of each game squaring off in the Super Bowl in Houston on February 5th.

So guess what? Here's everything you need to know about the 2017 NFL Championship game!

Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons

The two best teams in the NFC meet in Atlanta. Both have high powered offenses and momentum, so this is a tough one to call. Whatever the case, expect a lot of points.

Green Bay Packers

Why they'll win

After last week's thrilling victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the Packers have a lot momentum. And in Aaron Rodgers, they have one of the best Quarterbacks in the game. If he takes them to a Super Bowl title this year, he'll no doubt be viewed as one of the best Quarterbacks of all time. Come to think of it, it's genuinely hard to picture Rodgers losing. It just seems wrong, like socks and sandals or pineapple on pizza.

Why they'll lose

Injuries. Atlanta have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and some of the Packers' best defenders are just coming back from the doctor's office.

Players to watch

Naturally, keep an eye on Rodgers (you won't be able to keep one off him), and look out for Morgan Burnett. The Packers safety got injured against the Cowboys, but has been rushed back in an effort to lock down the likes of Julio Jones - the Falcons standout wide receiver.

Atlanta Falcons

Why they'll win

Two names: Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. There's no better quarterback-wide receiver combo in the league. When this duo get into a rhythm, it's as if the other team completely forgets how to football. Here's a fine example from earlier in the season:

Why they'll lose

Usually you'd say they couldn't. But when you face off against Aaron Rodgers, who's effectively made a career of running around and lobbing prayers that turn into touchdowns, miracles are definitely possible.

Players to watch

Along with the big names we just mentioned, keep an eye out for linebacker Vic Beasley. He led the league in sacks this season and the Falcons need him to terrorise Rodgers if they stand a chance of stopping the QB.

Verdict

Falcons, by a whisker.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots

The AFC's perennial high achievers return to familiar territory. Let's just say it: The Patriots will probably win like they always do, mate.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Why they'll win

The three Bs: Le'veon Bell, Antonio Brown and, in a liberal deviation from the nickname's focus on surnames, Ben Roethlisberger. The offensive trio have dominated all season, although running back Bell is really getting hot, just at the right time. For some reason, opposing teams seem incapable of stopping his patient running style. He waits for blocks like you wait for the bus. Observe:

Why they'll lose

Because the Patriots always win.

Players to watch

Bell. Obviously Bell. His style is a thing of beauty; poetic, if you're prone to hyperbole. Also, 'fastest linebacker in the league' Ryan Shazier is huge fun. Here he is being very fast indeed:

New England Patriots

Why they'll win

Did we mention they always win? Tom Brady's won four Super Bowls with the Patriots. He's won three Super Bowl MVPs. He probably helped his golf buddy Trump win the election, TBH. In all seriousness, head coach and professional miserablist Bill Belichick has installed a system that wins. Sure, there have been all those cheating controversies, but in the imagined words of every Pats fan, "who cares?"

Why they'll lose

As individuals we are weak, but together we can move mountains. With the collective will of every non-Patriots fan urging Tom Brady and his pals to blow it, perhaps they will. The Steelers' linebackers are also murdering QBs at the moment, which is a good thing too.

Players to watch

Credit to Belichick, because he can turn a team of nobodies into Super Bowl champs. With the exception of Brady, there aren't many Pats who are household names. Some dude called Chris Hogan plays wide receiver, and he's been particularly good this year.

Verdict

Fuck it. Steelers. Dare to dream.

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