NFC Championship Preview

Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons: I don’t know how much to value all of the injuries in the Packers receiving corps because Aaron Rodgers can make any wideout look good. Jordy Nelson is a solid route runner with good hands and fundamentals, but from a pure athletic standpoint, he doesn’t jump off the charts. The reason he puts up the numbers he does is because Rodgers is the type of guy who relies on good route runners and timing. So, when I see a guy like Davante Adams having tremendous success in the NFL, I think to myself whether it is Rodgers or him. Don’t get me wrong, Davante Adams is a talented wideout, but several drops and mediocre straight line speed would have him buried in most NFL teams depth charts. I keep watching the throw that Aaron Rodgers made last week against the Cowboys to move the Packers into field goal position, and that play defines Aaron Rodgers. The patience, arm strength, athleticism, and accuracy are main traits that make Rodgers great. He put them all on display on that throw. It is just mind boggling in my mind that Aaron made a throw 35 yards down the field, rolling to his weak side, and putting it in the perfect spot; it’s just unbelievable. The Packers defense will have their hands full today against a diverse Falcons offense. I think the Packers secret weapon is going to be cornerback Damarious Randall. A converted free safety, Randall’s hard hitting style and ball hawking skills will play a factor against the NFL’s best pass offense. I remember watching the Giants vs Packers wild card game and I noticed on a few throws that Giants quarterback Eli Manning made Randall was there, to knock them down. Randall recorded three passes defensed and an interception which was nearly returned for a touchdown. Even though he is thirty-seven-years-old, Julius Peppers is still extremely productive. Sure, he has gotten a step slower, but I do not know of many offensive line-man who can stop a six foot seven, 287-pound linebacker from sacking their quarterback. In addition to those physical attributes, his pass rushing moves are as polished as it gets.
I was so impressed with the Falcons last week. Yes, I did think the Falcons would win, but I did not see a blowout in store. When Seahawks first round rookie Germain Ifedi went down early, the Falcons knew and attacked Ifedi’s backup. They ran right by rookie Rees Odhiambo. For how good Aaron Rodgers has been down the stretch, Matt Ryan has been as good if not better. Obviously, the Hail Mary throws and game-winning plays will always intrigue fans, but from a statistical perspective, Ryan has been remarkably consistent the entire season. In his last game against the Packers Ryan completed 80 percent of his passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Now, the Packers defense has improved, but by how much? They still allowed a rookie led Dallas team to score 31 points against them and had Eli Manning’s receivers not dropped several passes, that wild card game might have had a different result. Not trying to speculate too much, but it’s just something to look out for. Apparently, Julio Jones is good to go today, which doesn’t surprise me, he is such a competitor. Julio is six foot three, 220 pounds. I don’t think I have ever seen someone his size fall to the ground and get up so quick (he was untouched). I don’t know how wide receiver Taylor Gabriel slipped through the cracks of 32 teams when he went undrafted back in 2014. Everyone talks about Tyreek Hill and his speed, but Taylor Gabriel has to be one of the quickest guys I have ever seen on tape. I would put him up there with Antonio Brown and Hill. The Falcons need to remember that the Packers have a one-dimensional offense. The Packers throw the ball about 65 percent of the time, mainly due to the fact that they do not have a true running back. The Falcons are gonna have to take advantage of that. Aaron Rodgers can only do so much.
I have the Falcons taking this one mainly because of their dynamic offense and the Packers one-dimensional offense. Sure, the Packers have gotten this far throwing the ball twice as many times as they have ran it, but I don’t see them keeping up with a Falcons defense that has been fantastic in the last eight weeks. 9.26. That’s Matt Ryan’s yards per attempt this season, first in the NFL. Since 2010 only one quarterback has a yards per attempt higher than 9.2: Aaron Rodgers in 2011. That season Rodgers led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory.

About Sports Talk with Ari

I am a 14 year old sports blogger!
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