Falcons can swoop to nullify Packers

The last two months have been a roller coaster for the Green Bay Packers. After injuries riddled the team, Green Bay now finds itself two steps away from reaching the Super Bowl.

However to accomplish that they will first have to get past the Atlanta Falcons. The duo square off on Saturday 15 January at 8pm on FOX in the divisional playoff round. Atlanta comes into the contest off a bye as the top seed in the National Football Conference after claiming the NFC South at 13-3.

The Falcons are a rugged team that be a threat on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Matt Ryan (3705 passing yards, 28 touchdowns) is the face of the side and the engine behind an offence ranked in the top 20. He has teamed up with wide receiver Roddy White (1389 receiving yards, 10 TDs) and tight-end Tony Gonzalez (656 yards, six TDs) in the passing game. Also Ryan has enjoyed another stellar year from running back Michael Turner (1371 yards, 12 TDs).

On the defensive side of the ball not enough credit is given for a unit ranked in the top 15, The likes of John Abraham (40 tackles, 13 sacks) and Curtis Lofton (118 tackles, three forced fumbles) have held the fort and prevented most teams from getting their rushing game going (allowing 105.9 yards per game on average, good enough for 10th best in the league).

Granted Green Bay has shown lately that it is potent. QB Aaron Rodgers (3922 yards, 28 TDs) has been consistently amazing and his arm is a big reason why the Packers got past the New York Giants for a playoff spot. However Green Bay took down the Philadelphia Eagles in last week’s Wildcard round in large part due to relative unknown running back Jason Starks (123 yards).

Defensively the side can be potent behind Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson.

Ultimately I expect the Falcons to get past the Packers by a field goal.

The other match-up is this Sunday 16 January at 1pm on FOX. The Seattle Seahawks, fresh off their monumental upset of the Saints, take on the Chicago Bears. Seattle did well to get past the Saints but I expect their luck to run out versus Chicago. If the Bears don’t win by two touchdowns I’d be shocked.

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