Coming off the thrilling victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the Packers head to Atlanta for the second time this season to face the Falcons, this time for the NFC championship. The Packers are but one game away from returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since the collapse in Seattle. This season has been a huge success given the circumstances, but going to the Super Bowl would be all two sweet for Packer nation. And let’s not forget the Packers ran through Atlanta on their last trip to the Super Bowl.
Atlanta Secondary vs Packers Receivers:
As much as the Packer’s secondary gets knocked, the Falcons have not been much better. Atlanta is giving up 266.7 yards per game this year, good for 28th worst in the league. This obviously bodes quite well for the Packers.
The Green Bay receivers will have their chances to break open. They played Atlanta already this year, and I still don’t know any of their corners by name. Here’s the list, if you’d like to play along. If Jordy can get back, we’re in such great shape, and honestly, I think Jeff Janis could eat these corners up given the chance. The Packers need to protect Rodgers and attack in the pass game. Their play calling may look very much like last week, 43 passes to 17 runs.
Jordy Nelson may or may not play, he was seen catching passes in practice on Thursday, but was not in full pads. Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison are also listed as questionable for Sunday. The Packers receiver core is beat up, but I’d bet there is a good chance at least Adams and Allison will be active. If either player can’t go, this could be another legendary playoff opportunity for none other than Jeff Janis, who I clearly really enjoy.
Atlanta Receivers vs Packers Secondary:
The Atlanta offense has out produced the Packers offense this season. Much to the credit of their receiving core. Obviously, Julio Jones leads the pack, both in the NFL and for his team. Mohamed Sanu, who you may know from his Cincinnati days, is their second-best receiver, and he could have a monster game matched up with Damarious Randall.
The Falcons star running back, Devonta Freeman, is a weapon in the passing game. He’s their third leading receiver in receptions, which could become an issue for the Packers. Joe Thomas and Blake Martinez will have their hands full covering him out of the back field.
Another issue the Packers will face, is the Falcons balance in their use of weapons. Matt Ryan throws it to everyone, which hurts Green Bay due to their lack of depth.
MVP Candidate vs MVP Candidate:
Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are considered the lead runners in the MVP race. In the six head to head match ups during their career, the two have split three wins each. The game will ultimately come down to which quarterback plays better. I’m quite confident Aaron Rodgers is the better quarterback, but Matt Ryan’s reputation is interesting.
His reputation varies largely due to who you ask, perhaps more than any other quarterback in the league. The common opinion of him is that he struggles in the big game, and he has gone 2-4 in the playoffs so far in his career. But those who have really followed his career will point to his 33-career game winning drives, and say, ‘he’ll give you a chance.’
I’m becoming a broken record, but if the Packers are to win this game, Aaron Rodgers needs to prove he’s the MVP. He may or may not have his favorite weapon in Jordy Nelson, but he proved last week that he can still make it happen. When you consider that both teams have a very difficult time in stopping the passing game, this game will probably come down to which quarterback plays better, and possibly whoever has the ball last.