NFC Championship - Packers vs. Falcons

The red hot Green Bay Packers will head to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon for the right to represent the NFC in Superbowl 51. Green Bay had a tough Wild Card round matchup with the New York Giants and after a Hail Mary to end the first half they proceed to blow the Giants out in the second half. Last week they had to go into Dallas and face a Cowboys team that was a Superbowl favorite in many prognosticators eyes and the number one seed in the NFC. Thanks to late game heroics from quarterback Aaron Rogers and two late clutch field goals from kicker Mason Crosby the Packers advanced to the NFC championship game and are now one win away from the Superbowl. The Falcons earned home field advantage in the regular season and took advantage of that last week by beating the Seattle Seahawks handily 36-20 in the divisional round.

Atlanta has been a team that has played well in the regular season but has been known for poor playoff performances erased some of those memories with last weeks showing vs. the playoff experienced Seahawks. The key was a masterful 99-yard touchdown drive led by quarterback Matt Ryan who went 26-37, 338 yards and 3 touchdowns for the game. The Falcons mixed the passing game and the run beautifully all night long and especially on this drive that took any momentum away from the Seahawks. The key to this game will be which team is capable of stopping the other on the defensive side of the ball. They scored 71 more points than any team in the league and Ryan has thrown 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions during the 5 game winning streak the Falcons are on. On the defensive side of the ball they have been below average and given up 52 points over their last 2 games. They had a plan in place last week that was effective vs. the Seattle offense and will need a similarly efficient plan vs the Packers and their red hot offense.

The Packers are on an 8 game winning streak after quarterback Aaron Rogers was quoted as saying his team would “win out and make the playoffs” after two strong performances in the playoffs Rogers has not only achieved that goal but has put his team one win away from the Superbowl. During the streak the Packers have done this without a traditional running back however converted receiver Ty Montgomery has taken over admirably. He had 11 carries for 42 yards with 2 touchdowns last week. Watch out for tight end Jared Cook who has come on big time lately and emerged as Rogers go to guy on third down and in the red zone, he finished with 6 catches, 103 yards and a touchdown.

Clearly both teams are quarterback driven but the winner may come down to the Falcons ability to run the all. Atlanta’s offense is much more balanced and unlike the Packers they rely on their running game to get the passing game going. If the Packers can stop the run and make them strictly a passing team the advantage will be in their favor as Green Bay has won 8 straight without any consistent running game.

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