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Sunday, September 16, 2018



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The Latest: Oddsmakers make Patriots and Falcons favorites

The Latest: Oddsmakers make Patriots and Falcons favorites

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas make the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons favorites to meet in the Super Bowl.

Atlanta is a 4-point favorite to beat Green Bay at home next Sunday, while New England is a 5.5-point pick at most sports books to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to get a rematch with the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Chris Boswell set an NFL record with six field goals, Le'Veon Bell broke his own franchise playoff record by running for 170 yards as the Steelers advanced to the AFC title game for the first time since the 2010 season.

The Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16 on Oct. 23. Pittsburgh played without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury.

The Steelers have won nine straight games.

The Patriots opened as a 4.5-point favorite after the Steelers edged the Kansas City Chiefs. But money came in on the Patriots like it has all season in sports books, pushing the point spread up.

Both games are expected to be high scoring affairs, with the over/under for the Patriots-Steelers at 51.5 points and the total for the Packers-Falcons game a whopping 60.5 points.

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There will be quite a group of quarterbacks in the NFL's conference championship games next weekend: Tom Brady's New England Patriots host Ben Roethlisberger's Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC, and Matt Ryan's Atlanta Falcons host Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers in the NFC.

The Steelers got past the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 on Sunday night in the final divisional-round game.

A holding penalty may have cost the Kansas City Chiefs a chance to extend their season. Spencer Ware scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to bring the Chiefs within 18-16 of the Pittsburgh Steelers with 2:43 left. Kansas City went for a two-point conversion to tie it and converted, but left tackle Eric Fisher was called for holding when he dragged down Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison.

The flag pushed the ball back to the 12 and Alex Smith's pass into the end zone fell incomplete.

Kansas City is searching for its first home playoff win since the 1993 postseason.

Earlier Sunday, Rodgers completed a 36-yard pass along the sideline on third-and-20 to Jared Cook with 3 seconds remaining to set up Mason Crosby's 51-yard winning field goal in a 34-31 thriller against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Patriots and Falcons advanced Saturday.

Brady owns four Super Bowl titles, Roethlisberger two, and Rodgers one. Ryan never has appeared in a Super Bowl, but he is the quarterback on the All-Pro team this season and the favorite to win MVP.

Rodgers and Ryan already engaged in one thrilling showdown this season, when Atlanta edged Green Bay 33-32 on Oct. 30 in Week 8.

A week earlier, Brady and the Patriots won 27-16 against a Steelers team missing an injured Roethlisberger.

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Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are headed to the NFC championship game for the first time since the 2014 season after a thrilling finish in Dallas.

Mason Crosby kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired, and the Packers edged the NFC's top-seeded Cowboys 34-31 on Sunday. The kick was set up by a Jared Cook 35-yard reception as he was sliding out of bounds.

Rodgers threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns as the Packers (12-6) won their eighth straight.

The Cowboys (13-4) rallied twice, first from 18 points down and again after the Packers went up 31-28 with 1:33 left on a 56-yard field goal by Crosby.

But Rodgers had the ball last to set up Crosby for the winning field goal.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL