The Atlanta Falcons are going to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history after they thrashed the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship game.

Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another as the Falcons blew the Packers away to book their place in Houston in a fortnight.

Ryan had 27 completions in 38 attempts for 392 yards as he outshone the Packers' Aaron Rodgers, who threw for three touchdowns and an interception as his side's eight-match winning run came to an end.

Atlanta took the initiative from the start with Mohamed Sanu receiving Ryan's two-yard throw for a touchdown on the first drive.

Ryan then ran for 14 yards for the Falcons' second touchdown and it was 24-0 at half-time after Ryan hit Julio Jones for the wide receiver's first touchdown.

Atlanta continued the punishment early in the third quarter as Ryan and Jones combined for a 73-yard touchdown, with the wide receiver breaking one tackle before holding off Damarious Randall and racing clear.

Green Bay finally troubled the scoreboard when Rodgers found Davante Adams with a two-yard pass but Devonta Freeman soon crossed for the Falcons' sixth touchdown.

Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook both scored touchdowns for the Packers either side of Tevin Coleman's three-yard run as Atlanta cruised to victory.

There was another marked gulf in class in the second game of the day as Tom Brady inspired the New England Patriots to a 36-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and a record ninth Super Bowl appearance.

Having begun the year suspended following the 'Deflategate' scandal, quarterback Brady was imperious as the Patriots seventh consecutive AFC championship game ended in success.

Brady is now set to play in a seventh Super Bowl, having thrown for a franchise play-off high 384 yards and three touchdowns.

Bill Belichick, who like Brady is set for a seventh Super Bowl appearance, will set a record for a head coach.
Chris Hogan scored two touchdowns and Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a score.

Brady found Hogan for a 16-yard score to make it 10-0 before DeAngelo Williams capped an 84-yard drive to reduce the gap to four points.

LeGarrette Blount bullied his way through the Pittsburgh defence to score and from then on the Patriots surged clear.