The Patriots Are One Win Away from Super Bowl LI

Get Ready for the AFC Championship Game

Cheer for the Patriots
© 2012 Kim Knox Beckius

I'm honestly not sure who is the bigger New England Patriots fan: my daughter, who was a Junior Patriots Cheerleader, or me! We'll both be on the edge of our couch seats when the Pats face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Sunday, January 22, at 6:40 p.m. Eastern time.

The game is on CBS for those of us who will be watching at home in New England. Will it be an epic battle for these two rival teams? The Patriots beat the Steelers 27-16 in Pittsburgh earlier this season, but Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sidelined for that game.

A win will earn the Patriots their ninth Super Bowl appearance and the chance to bring home a fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy to display at the Hall at Patriot Place (if you're a Patriots fan and you haven't visited, one word: Go!). Only three teams in NFL history have won five or more Super Bowls. The Steelers have won the most--six! Another reason to root against the visiting team.

If you're having friends over to watch Sunday's big quarterback duel between Tom Brady and Big Ben, here are a few things you can do to prepare to host a New England-themed football bash:

  • Learn to Make Apple Cider Cocktails
  • Chill Some Cheese Spread with a Secret New England Ingredient
  • Simmer Boston Baked Beans in a Crockpot
  • Make Lobster Nachos to Munch During the Game
  • Fry Some Hot Dogs in Maple Syrup
  • Please Patriots Fans with Lobster Sliders
  • Brew Up a Batch of Vermont Beer Cheese Soup

Better yet... why not enter to win a chance to be at Gillette Stadium for all of the action:

With AFC Championship tickets selling on sites like StubHub for $365 and up, you may be wondering what the next best way is to watch Sunday's game with other fans. Even if you're not inside the stadium, Patriot Place is still an ideal viewing destination on game day: Bars and restaurants will show the game. I'll help you find hotels near Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place and lobster for breakfast the next morning if you're staying overnight.

Hopefully, we'll have a decisive win to celebrate--and NO lingering controversy like the DeflateGate nonsense that haunted the Patriots--and robbed Tom Brady of four starts this season--after they defeated the Colts for the AFC title two years ago. I'm betting Brady, Bill Belichick and co. have some clever plays that will give New England's team the edge in the AFC Championship. The Patriots have looked dominant since Brady's return, even since losing the best weapon in the NFL: Gronk!

What do the oddsmakers say? The Patriots are not only favored to win the AFC Championship, they're favored to win the Super Bowl. Sporting News reports that the Patriots are 6-point favorites in Sunday's game. The over/under is 50.5.

If the Patriots do advance to Super Bowl LI (51), they will play the winner of the NFC Championship: either the Green Bay Packers or the Atlanta Falcons.

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