By Zach Walker
Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons
Sunday – January 22 – 2:05 pm
Georgia Dome – Atlanta – GA
Who in this game needs to get shut down?
Green Bay OW Ty Montgomery – The Packers don’t have a supremely strong running game. But, what they do have it a dynamic piece playing a running back role. Ty Montgomery has great vision, knows where he’s supposed to be on each play, and has great hands, of course being a wide receiver by trade. In the Dallas game, Montgomery ran strong, but they didn’t use his as much as an asset through the air as they likely should have. I say “OW” as in an “offensive weapon” because of just how potentially deadly he can be for the Packers going forward in playoffs.
Who in this game needs to step up?
Atlanta SS Keanu Neal – It’s pretty outstanding how quickly Keanu Neal got up to speed in the NFL. He’s easily a defensive rookie of the year candidate, and just grasped everything that Dan Quinn and the Falcons’ defensive staff placed in front of him. He’s forced five fumbles as a rookie tone setter in the middle of the field, and has 106 tackles. Now what the Falcons are hoping for, is Neal kicking down that wall and getting his hands on an Aaron Rodgers’ pass for his first career interception. What’s likely to happen is Neal handling Jared Cook or any other Packers trying to catch anything across the middle. The Falcons must have their youth show up on defense, Keanu Neal, Vic Beasley, Robert Alford, and Deion Jones to battle the Packers’ offense.
Which group will give the Packers trouble?
The Atlanta Pass Catchers – I actually don’t know of any other team that goes as deep with their pass catchers as the Falcons do. Five deep at wide receiver, two deep at tight end, and both of their running backs are extremely dangerous out of the backfield. At the top it’s about Julio Jones. One of the top-two receivers in the NFL, especially how Kyle Shanahan puts him into positions to succeed. He designs Jones to be open. The Falcons brought in Mohamed Sanu from the Bengals, and he’s been exciting to say the least. Justin Hardy, Taylor Gabriel, and Aldrick Robinson are going to put the Packers in a serious jam in regards to their depth in the secondary. Micah Hyde is going to need double vision, keeping Austin Hooper in front of him, as well as making sure the Atlanta running backs aren’t getting loose.
Which group will give the Falcons trouble?
The Green Bay Pass Catchers – Jordy Nelson could be back for this game, so everyone hold their breathe. The Packers have hit a buzzsaw in the health department. Jordy’s health is well documented, but Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison both left the Dallas game in various stages of injury. That could mean that the Packers have Randall Cobb, Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, and Jeff Janis as the only “healthy” options for the championship game. The Packers are going to press the issue, because at this point in the season, what’s the point in holding anyone back. They could use every hand on deck to combat the Falcons. However, when it’s Aaron Rodgers all he has to do it simply stand back there in the pocket, while his guards hold, and then roll out and find a target downfield. Because he’s “Unstoppable”…
What will it take for these teams to win?
45 Points. Seriously, this game is going to be a fireworks sendoff of the old Georgia Dome. This game has the capability to end up looking like a Big XII game. Two seasoned slingers with pretty much carte blanche towards letting it rip. Dynamic, headache inducing matchups across both offenses, and defenses with some playmakers, maybe not a ton, but enough to keep everything really exciting. For this game, it sucks to exhaust the tired old cliché of “Last team with the ball, wins” but with these two offenses, it’s likely to ring true.
Green Bay 45 – Atlanta 41
Green Bay wins because of a “Non-offensive Touchdown”