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2017 NFL Conference Championship Playoff Preview: Green Bay At Atlanta

Who wins the 2017 NFC Conference Championship game? Read a preview for the game. (Kevin Cox Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the 2017 NFC Conference Championship game. The winner will play in Super Bowl 51 down in Houston. This will be the final game ever played at the Georgia Dome so you know it will be an exciting atmosphere in Atlanta. Now it’s time to give 3 reasons why each team has a chance to win. What are the keys to the game for each team in order to advance this postseason? For more on the rest of the playoff teams, click here!

10-6 Green Bay Packers At 11-5 Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, January 22nd, 3:05 p.m. ET: FOX

Spread > Green Bay +5.5 – Under/Over 61

WHY The Green Bay Packers Will Win:

Aaron Rodgers tops the list of reasons why Green Bay will defeat Atlanta (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  1. Aaron Rodgers Is Filthy:

Is anyone playing better than Aaron Rodgers right now? It is hard to argue against the fact that he is probably the greatest pure arm talent we have ever seen. The passes this guy makes on his back foot and off balance is incredible. He also is the god of the hail mary pass. How does he keep doing it?





It is hard to believe that The Packers were 4-5 at one point. Aaron Rodgers believed his team would run the table and win the division. They have done just that winning 7 straight playing their best football at the end of the year. Rodgers has 21 touchdowns and 2 interceptions the last 7 games. His complement of receivers has also come on late in the year. Tight end Jared Cook has given Rodgers a dependable option in the middle of the field. Ty Montgomery has given the Packers a semblance of a running game averaging over 6 yards a rush. Even unknown commodities like Geronimo Allison have caught fire down the stretch. This just seems like one of those years that Rodgers looks unstoppable. It might be because the media bashed him for the first 10 weeks of the season for no reason. Mr. Discount Double Check has also been fantastic in postseason play. He has 33 touchdowns, 9 picks and a passer rating of 100.0 during his playoff career. Keep in mind that Green Bay’s offensive line has fantastic this season as well grading as the top pass blocking unit in football.

2. This Is 2010 All Over Again:

The Packers were my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl prior to the start of the season. Sooner or later I just had that feeling that Aaron Rodgers was too good not to be in another Super Bowl. Now things are going the Packers way again as it seems like Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams will both play despite being injured which is a huge boost. The last time the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 they also were 10-6. It may be as simple as the Packers playing their best football at the right time. The Packers running game has really come to life. Green Bay has found their answer in Ty Montgomery who has been fantastic as a converted receiver. This is similar to the impact James Starks had for the 2010 team that came out of nowhere. The Packers offense line has been the real game-changer late in the season. Left Tackle David Bakhtiari leads the NFL with the fewest quarterback pressures allowed (20). The only real difference is this defense has been a shell of themselves. This Packers defense obviously isn’t as good but Rodgers is playing the best football of his career at the moment and that could be enough.

3. Mike McCarthy Has The Coaching Edge:

The Falcons beat the Packers 33-32 in week 8. Expect this one to be high scoring again (ESPN)

When it comes to Mike McCarthy I know what I’m getting. Green Bay has made the playoffs every year since 2008 and McCarthy has a Super Bowl resume to go with his name. McCarthy is 9-7 in the postseason compared to Dan Quinn’s first time being in the playoffs. Postseason experience matters. This is the first time the Falcons will be playing in the NFC title game since the dirty bird days in the 90’s. Outside of Kyle Shanahan putting up a lot of points, this is a defensive minded Atlanta staff that manages a below average defense. When it comes to the red-zone, McCarthy is going to dial up the right play. Atlanta gives up a 73 percent touchdown rate inside of the 20.

Read About The Packers Playoff X-Factor HERE!

WHY The Atlanta Falcons Will Win:

The duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been fantastic all year (Kevin C. Cox Getty Images)
  1. It’s Time For Hotlanta, The Best Offense In The League:
The Falcons offensive line must hold up if Atlanta wins this game (Pro Football Focus)

The Atlanta Falcons have won their games by an average margin of victory 14.1 points per game during the regular season. The biggest reason for their success is their red-hot offense that leads the NFL in just about every statistical category. The mastermind of this offense is offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. His Falcons team has scored the 4th most points in a single season in NFL history in 2016. Teams will regret not hiring this guy as their head coach this offseason but that is a story for a different day. MVP candidate Matt Ryan has led Atlanta to an average of 37 points per game over the last 7 games. Not only does Atlanta score a lot but they are also extremely efficient.  The were tied for 1st in the NFL with the fewest turnovers in the NFL with 11. The real difference with Atlanta is their ability to create positive plays on first down. They average 7.6 yards per play on first down, 1st in NFL. There aren’t enough good things to say about this offense. Seattle will really struggle with some of these matchups especially with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman coming out of the backfield. Atlanta has been grooving during this four-game win streak. There is no reason that stops now. There is a reason that the over/under is the highest it has ever been for a playoff game. There are a lot of points going to be scored in this one.

2. Atlanta Is Tough To Beat At Home:

Vic Beasley lead the NFL with 6 forced fumbles. Can he get pressure on Aaron Rodgers? (Pro Football Focus)

The Georgia Dome is going to be loud this weekend. Especially given that it could be the last time the Falcons ever play in that stadium. Green Bay also gives up 9 more points on the road compared to at home. The Georgia Dome could create problems for Green Bay. Thus far the Packers offensive line has been very good but Enter Vic Beasley who led the NFL in sacks with 16. Aaron Rodgers probably won’t be able to pull off those free offsides plays on the road. If Green Bay falls behind, they may never be able to recover considering the Falcons score on just about every possession. Getting off to a quick start and quieting the crowd will be a huge factor.

3. The Falcons Matchup Well With Green Bay:

To Stop Aaron Rodgers sometimes you just have to score enough to keep up with him. You not only have to score but you have to be creative doing so. Enter Kyle Shanahan, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator who has been rather brilliant all season. The future 49ers head coach in waiting is going to draw up the perfect game plan. Green Bay actually ranks 32nd in pass defense DVOA on the right side of the field. Ladarius Gunter was awful in the Divisional win over Dallas and couldn’t cover Dez Bryant to save his life. Good luck doing any better against Julio Jones. Atlanta has weapons that Green Bay’s injury-plagued secondary can’t keep up with. On defense, Atlanta isn’t very good but they do have a lot of speed. Guys like Deon Jones and DeVondre Campbell fly around the football. Rodgers probably won’t have the time to throw like he did last week either as Dallas didn’t really get much pressure on him for much of the game.

Read About The Falcons Playoff X-Factor HERE!

Who wins the NFC Conference Title Game? (Pro Football Focus)

The Prediction:

I have to take Green Bay in this one simply because they were my Super Bowl pick prior to the season. Getting 5.5 points helps. Look how can anyone bet against Aaron Rodgers at this points as an underdog. Furthermore, I get Jordy Nelson back! This game will probably go back and forth and get really high scoring but this one is simple, I’m taking Aaron Rodgers when the game matters most.

Packers defeat Falcons 34-27

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