Publish Date: 01/22/2017
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
The 2017 NFC Championship Game has the makings of a great offensive football game. You have the two hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, and two defenses at the offenses mercy. There is a reason that the over under is hovering around 60, take the over if you are betting this game.
Packers offensive line vs. Falcons pass rush. This is a mismatch: The Packers have maybe the best pass-blocking offensive line in football and, outside of Vic Beasley, the Falcons generate very little pass rush. The advantage here goes to the Packers, and it isn’t even close.
Falcons offensive line vs. Green Bay’s front seven. Once again, a mismatch: The Falcons have maybe the best-run blocking line in football. The Falcons weakness would be more in the area of pass blocking — but it’s not a big enough advantage for the Packers to capitalize on because the Packers front seven does not rush the passer well. Significant edge here to the Falcons.
How is this game different from the meeting between these teams earlier in the season? The last time the Packers and Falcons played, Ty Montgomery was still a wide receiver who didn’t even play, as he was out injured for the game along with fellow offensive contributors Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, James Starks and Jared Cook. That led to fullback Aaron Ripkowski playing 32 of the Packers’ 62 offensive snaps, with Don Jackson and Knile Davis combining for 18 snaps in the backfield. Lacy and Jackson are on IR, Davis has since been released, and Starks has been inactive the past five games. So on the surface, the Packers are healthier, but now it looks like they will be without Jordy Nelson.
Now Montgomery adds a new dimension to the Packers with his running and receiving that has changed the way the Packers offense can attack. He’s been very efficient in the two postseason wins, even if he’s not a big-play threat. But can he pick up the blitzing linebackers that the Falcons will send at him? Montgomery struggled with Blitz pickup against the Cowboys, and you know this will not go unnoticed by Falcons coach Dan Quinn. Back in Week 8, they blitzed very selectively but had success; expect them to go after Rodgers in this game.
Who has the Coaching advantage? Mike McCarthy has more experience, but I think Dan Quinn is the better coach. I thought Quinn out-coached Pete Carroll last week and it would not surprise me if it happens again this week. McCarthy has a tendency to get more conservative in big games and his decision making in the past has not always been the best. Dan Quinn will play to win this game, he will not be afraid.
This will be a shootout and if the Falcons do not have a healthy Julio Jones, things will get much more difficult for Matt Ryan. With that being said I think the Falcons have more weapons than the Packers and Matt Ryan has been the best quarterback in the NFL this season. Ryan has a monkey on his back and I think this Sunday it gets removed. Falcons 41, Packers 34.