This was supposed to be the year New England's stranglehold on the AFC could be loosened.
Yet after starting the season without their biggest star, the Patriots find themselves in a familiar place: with a chance to earn a Super Bowl title.
A week after showing flecks of vulnerability in its divisional-round win over Houston, New England put together the kind of dominant performance that has come to define the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era, earning a 36-17 AFC championship game win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Now the Pats will face the Atlanta Falcons with a chance to earn their fifth Super Bowl victory.
"Yeah, it was a good day. I mean, we're going to...