football Edit

Irish In The NFL: Conference Championships

Stephon Tuitt could be a big factor in the Steelers’ AFC title game matchup against New England.
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Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (3:05 p.m. Sunday, FOX)

• Green Bay: assistant head coach Tom Clements

Though Notre Dame won’t have a player representative in the NFC championship game, former Irish quarterback Tom Clements will carry the Notre Dame flag on the sidelines.

Clements, 63, quarterbacked Notre Dame from 1972-74, leading the Irish to the 1973 national championship. In 1974, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was a first-team All-American.

The Pittsburgh native has been a Green Bay assistant since 2006, coaching the quarterbacks from 2006-11, then serving as offensive coordinator from 2012-14 and assistant head coach since. Clements does not call the offensive plays for the Packers — head coach Mike McCarthy handles those duties.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (6:40 p.m. Sunday, CBS)

• Pittsburgh: OT Ryan Harris and DE Stephon Tuitt

Tuitt, 23, is still playing far below 100 percent health in the playoffs after sustaining knee and hand injuries near the end of the season, but it hasn’t reflected in his play. Tuitt had two quarterback hits in the Steelers’ 18-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round.

In the matchup with the Patriots, Tuitt — a long 300-pounder — will align on the outside shoulder New England right guard Shaq Mason and prove to be a difficult matchup.

Harris was put on injured reserve in week four with a leg injury.

• New England: WR Michael Floyd

In his playoff debut with the Patriots, Floyd caught one of his three targets for nine yards in a victory over the Texans. Fellow wideout Chris Hogan was slowed by an injury, and Floyd played 44 of a possible 69 offensive snaps.

Whether Floyd sees an increased role — ie., more targets/catches — against the Steelers will depend on the situation. Floyd is certainly capable of handling a larger workload.


Talk about it inside Rockne’s Roundtable

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