The Falcons are the #1 seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record as we take on the Packers at home sweet home in the 2nd round of the playoff. So we bring you officially our 11th post in our Best Case/Worst Case evaluation of this week’s matchup. Show us some love and rec both of our posts.
This is the 2nd part of Turner_The_Burner's post Best Case Scenario vs. Packers. See it hereFlipping it to the Packers
As it has been said here I’m going to play the devil’s advocate here and speak about where the Packers can hurt us bad. Its playoff time so that means win or go home, and with a rematch with the Packers this will be close. The Packers are a deadly team when it comes to defense and a very good team on offence. So the worst case scenario for the Falcons is – they utilize their red zone opportunities, Clay Matthews puts Ryan out of tempo and the passing game struggles.
They utilize their red zone opportunities: The red zone is the place where a lot of games can be determined from; who executed, who turned the ball over, who made the big plays? This was also apparent the last time the Falcons and the Packers played as Aaron Rodgers fumbled inside the 5 yard line and the Falcons recovered. This also helped determine the result of the last encounter of the Falcons and the Saints when Turner fumbled again inside the 5 yard line. I also believe that whoever I more successful in the red zone will win this game.
The passing accuracy of Aaron Rodgers, combined with his ability to scramble, makes him a deadly red zone threat which accompanied by a new formed running game of John Kuhn and James Starks makes it difficult to account for all the different weapons offensively. However the Falcons have their share of weapons with Pro Bowler QB Matt Ryan and his combination of accuracy, power and ice-ness. Ryan is a great leader for this team and is his best when throwing the safe short distance ball, oh and Ryan can scramble when he needs to as well. Add to that a whole arsenal of receivers that can make plays in the end zone, we can match them step for step… We hope.
Clay Matthews puts Ryan out of tempo: We all know how much damage Clay Matthews can cause in the pass rush and even in the run game. He has great speed and power so he can constantly cause pressure to the quarterback. His 13.5 sacks this year was impressive and if you thought he has lost his touch late in the season, think again as he got another one against the Eagles last week. He has the ability to put Matt Ryan out of his tempo and we know when Matt Ryan gets put out of his tempo, then he plays a lot worse than we would like.
To stop Matthews we need to do a couple things, run the ball a lot and force him into pass coverage. I figure the more we run the ball, the harder it will be for a pass rusher to make a play. Matthews will probably hit Ryan a few times but if we can minimize these by establishing a good running game, I may be wrong here but I figure if Turner is running well then Matthews is more likely going to be used to cover Turner then Ryan giving him more time to slice open the Packers defense.
The good thing for us about using Matthews in a role other then pass rushing is that he is average at it. A lot of people don’t agree with me but I have yet to see Matthews make a positive play while in pass coverage, all his pass coverage stats seem to come from pass rushing and sticking his hand up, or catching a deflected pass while trying to get a sack (yes I’m talking about his pick 6, and no it’s not a good play by him, anyone could have made that play it was gifted to him). I watched the Packers game against the Eagles and the only pass coverage play he made was letting Maclin run straight past him to get a big completion. So in summary the less Matthews is rushing the passer the easier this game will be.
The Passing game struggles: Again I will reiterate the fact that Woodson is a powerfully good CB, I said it last time we played them and I will say it again, he is a great player and a Pro-Bowler this year. Joining him is our favorite Charlie Peprah famous for being stiff armed by the Patriots O-lineman (Dan Connelly?) in his amazing kickoff return. Oh and yea maybe Nick Collins (4 INT’s) and Tramon Williams (6 INT’s) probably should deserve a mention. Their secondary are a powerful bunch of players who are all great ball hawks… except for Charlie. They also were the main reason that they had the 5th lowest yards pass yards allowed per game. Roddy better step up as he was held to 5 catches for 49 yards last time against them.
That is all for the analysis for this week, so finally good luck to the Falcons and I hope they get a comfortable win to keep on their winning ways to advance to the NFC championship game.