January 13, 2011

NFC Divisional Round Analysis

Filed under: Game Analysis — Tags: , — patbutler87 @ 3:53 am

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (Saturday 8:00 ET)

The Atlanta Falcons are the top seeded team in the NFC, yet I can’t really pinpoint one specific thing that they are great at. They do have a very solid running game and Matt Ryan and Roddy White have incredible chemistry, but they are not a number one seed that strikes fear into their opponents like the New England Patriots. Atlanta has a good enough defense, but not a great one, and their secondary will really be tested by Aaron Rodgers. Matt Ryan is a pro bowl quarterback and he’s taken great care of the ball, but he has to prove to me that he can excel if the run game gets slowed down and I don’t believe he can.

Green Bay may be the sixth seed but their team is fully loaded and they could be set for a big run in the NFC. I can watch film of Aaron Rodgers all day if I had the opportunity, it’s hard to find any quarterback in the league who has a skillset as good as him. They also try to run the ball even though the results were lackluster during the regular season. Coach McCarthy will go with the hot hand regardless of whether it’s Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, James Starks, and even Dimitri Nance. Starks played very well last week but Atlanta has the 10th ranked rush defense, even though they’ve given up a gaudy 4.6 yards per carry average. If Green Bay can block John Abraham, Rodgers should be able to pick apart the secondary regardless of how well they are running the ball. The Packers defense has really impressed me this year as they finished second in the league in points per game and top five in total yardage. They are exactly the kind of team that can slow down this Falcons offense. Final Score- Green Bay 27, Atlanta 20.

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (Sunday 1:00 ET)

It’s very hard to explain how Seattle crept their way into the playoffs, let alone how they beat the Saints last weekend. There were a ton of complete breakdowns by the New Orleans defense and it’s hard to see Chicago playing that sloppy. Marshawn Lynch ran very hard last week after being part of an awful rushing attack all season in Seattle. They need him to get steady yardage because Hasselbeck can’t do it all by himself. He had a rebirth last week in an incredible game, but I don’t think one fluke game can make up for an entire season of ineptitude.

Chicago hasn’t been overly impressive either, as their running and passing games were each below average this season by most standards. They started playing much better once Matt Forte got steady carries, but the pass protection is a nightmare and Jay Cutler isn’t the best decision maker. Seattle has a shot due to these two things but I think the Bears defense will win this game for them. Cutler will just have to sit back and make a few passes and look forward to being outmatched by whoever they have to play next week. Final Score- Chicago 23, Seattle 13.


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