WHEN : Sunday, January 22nd 3:05 PM (EST)
WHERE : Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
After 17 weeks of football, two rounds of playoffs, and 14 teams being eliminated from playoff contention, there are only two NFC teams left standing. This conference championship will feature the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. The Pack reached the finals after defeating the Cowboys last week 34-31. Their victory came in thrilling fashion, when Mason Crosby kicked a game winning, 51 yard field goal. Aaron Rodgers once again dismantled his opponent’s defense, throwing for over 350 yards and two touchdowns. On the flip side, Atlanta’s quarterback isn’t too shabby either. In the divisional round, the Falcons defeated the Seahawks 36-20. Matt Ryan led the offense as he threw for over 330 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan and company picked apart a Seattle defense that was thought of as one of the best in the league. They made it look simple, and they will look to do the same this Sunday against the Packers.
It’s no secret that Atlanta’s offense is talented. They average 34 points per game, which ranks first in the NFL. This is not a good sign for Green Bay, considering they are the second worst team in the league in defending the pass. People have questioned Ryan’s ability to produce in the playoffs, but he responded to all of the naysayers against Seattle. He will need to repeat his production this week if he wants to keep up with the high powered arm of Aaron Rodgers.
Calling Aaron Rodgers’ arm high powered, may even be an understatement. During Green Bay’s current 8 game win streak, his throwing ability has seemed to be an act of God. Rodgers has put together countless perfect drives, with plays that seem to be impossible. On the last play before the game winning field goal against Dallas, Rodgers drew up his own play by telling his receivers exactly where to go. Randall Cobb described his quarterback’s actions as, “a kid drawing in the dirt during a backyard football game.” Rodgers then scrambled out of the pocket and found his tight end, Jared Cook, along the sideline for a gain of 36 yards. This type of offense has been a focus point for the Packers. They do not have a rhythmic passing game, their most productive plays occur when Rodgers scrambles and his receivers improvise until they can get away from their defender. The first routes of the receivers rarely ever work, but the more time Rodgers has to throw the ball, the more yardage the Packers can gain.
Atlanta’s defense is not strong, at all. They rank 25th in total yards given up, 28th in passing yards, and they are giving up an average of 25 points per game. Rodgers and his high powered offense will be salivating at the opportunity to torch yet another secondary.
MY PREDICTION : This game is going to be an absolute shootout, and I think the Green Bay Packers will be the NFC Champions. Neither of the defenses in this game will be a factor. The ending score will be 41-36. It is going to come down to who’s the better quarterback, Matt Ryan or Aaron Rodgers, and I’ll take Green Bay’s fearless leader any day of the week. The Falcons are good, really good, but the Packers are on fire, and I don’t think their streak will stop anytime soon. Rodgers told the media that his team would run the table the rest of the way, and Aaron Rodgers is a man of his word. The Packers will be crowned the NFC Champions, and will move on to play in Super Bowl 51.