Shawn: The Green Bay Packers couldn’t have asked for anything better than a second shot at the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. It’s been around 15 degrees in Green Bay, so I’d be pumped about getting out of here and playing in a dome if I were a member of the Packers.
This year’s Falcons remind me of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They shorten the game and limit possessions with a ball-control offense predicated on the run and short passes. Meanwhile, their defense plays a bend-but-don’t-break game meant to take away the big play. They’re rarely penalized and force their opponents into errors, while making few themselves.
The difference between these Falcons and those Buccaneers is these Falcons don’t have the defense that those Bucs did.
The question is, how aggressive will Mike McCarthy and the Packers offense be, considering how well the defense has been playing? I guess we’ll find out.
The Packers may very well attempt to beat the Falcons at their own game by running the football and playing a ball-possession type of game. This Packers offense should be better than it was during the teams’ last meeting, but in that game, Aaron Rodgers was at the top of his game; he has not played nearly that well the last two weeks, dialing it down as the defense took over.
The Packers need to tackle better than last time, they need to catch the football, and they need to play well enough on special teams so that unit isn’t the difference maker in the game.
The Falcons’ best weapon against the Packers will be the run at the edge. They were dominant there last time around. Eric Walden and company will have their hands full.
The Falcons are coming off a bye week, well-coached, and well aware of the rare opportunity a No. 1 seed gives them.
However, the Packers have the more explosive offense and the better defense. The Packers should win this game if they can limit mistakes and play at least reasonably well on special teams. I could even see a blowout if the Packers’ offense plays better than it has the last two weeks; the defense is simply playing that well.
Matt Ryan and company also have their hands full.
Knowing McCarthy’s propensity to play it safe when the defense is playing well…
Packers 20, Falcons 13
Sarah: The key to beating the Atlanta Falcons on the road is stopping running back Michael Turner.
When the Saints rallied for a rare 17-14 win against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome in week 16, they held Turner to 48 yards, forced a goal-line fumble and dialed up blitz pressure against quarterback Matt Ryan.
Expect Dom Capers to map a similar plan and bring more pressure than he did in the teams’ first meeting with his zone-blitz packages. Turner had 110 rushing yards when Atlanta defeated Green Bay 20-17 in week 12, but the Packers defense had their worst tackling game of the season. Forcing turnovers and making third-down stops will be paramount against a balanced Atlanta offense that has just one of two offensive lines to stay healthy all season.
The Falcons don’t make many mistakes, especially at home, so when and if they do, Aaron Rodgers and the offense needs to be ready to capitalize. Rodgers threw for 344 yards and one touchdown in the teams’ first meeting. Great numbers for any quarterback, and Rodgers needs to put them up again (maybe with a few more touchdowns) and throw another pick-free game to keep Green Bay in it this time around.
It won’t hurt if James Starks proves he’s not a one-game wonder.
Packers 20, Falcons 14
Monty: All these assholes talking about a Packers Super Bowl hurts my taint.
You know what happens when all the “experts” start marking your team down for the Super Bowl? Your team loses in the divisional round.
That being said, Matty Personality Void and the Atlanta Falcons are a bunch of cunts who don’t belong on the same field as the Green Bay Packers. Short of Roddy White and Eric Weems, I wouldn’t let any of these motherfuckers carry my bags at a hotel.
Unfortunately, the Falcons are also a bunch of cunts who don’t lose at home and the aforementioned asshats have jinxed the Packers.
Fuck me. The season’s over.
Falcons 21, Packers 17