Packers-Falcons, Steelers-Patriots for Super Bowl berths

Published 9:20 am Monday, January 16, 2017

Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger. Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Ryan.

Quite a quartet of QBs is heading to the NFL’s conference championship games next weekend: Brady’s New England Patriots host Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC, and Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers play at Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons in the NFC.

Consider the collective bona fides: Among them, Brady, Roethlisberger and Rodgers can boast of 10 Super Bowl appearances and seven titles, four Super Bowl MVP awards and four regular-season MVP awards. Not too bad.

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Ryan, never a Super Bowl participant, is the least-accomplished member of the final four, but he just so happens to be the quarterback on the All-Pro team this season and the favorite to collect league MVP honors.

Brady and Rodgers also figure to get some votes for that accolade, which will be handed out the day before the Super Bowl in Houston on Feb. 5.

These four guys would love to be in town for that game, of course.

Rodgers and Ryan moved closer to playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy with terrific divisional-round performances, none more thrilling than Green Bay’s 34-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Running to his left, and running out of time and territory on a third-and-20, Rodgers whipped his wrist for a 36-yard completion to tight end Jared Cook, who barely managed to scrape the toes of each shoe inbounds before tumbling to the sideline with 3 seconds remaining. That set up Mason Crosby’s game-ending, tiebreaking 51-yard field goal.

“This one’s special,” Rodgers said. “More special than we’ve had around here in a while.”

All Ryan did Saturday was throw for 338 yards, three TDs and no interceptions to beat the Seattle Seahawks 36-20 .

The AFC quarterbacks were not as impressive as their NFC counterparts this weekend, but did enough to get by.