Atlanta Falcons: 5 Key Players for Beating the Packers

For the past two months, Falcons fans have been waiting to see their team in postseason action.  Well, that time has finally come.

The Falcons will host the Packers on Saturday, a rematch of the Week 12 game that saw the Falcons win 20-17 on a last minute field goal by Matt Bryant.

The Packers have since clicked and are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, as is evident from their victory in Philadelphia in the Wild Card round.  If the Falcons are to win a second game against the Packers this season, they need a solid performance in all three facets of the game.

We all know that Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White have to have big games in order for the Falcons to win.  But here are 5 other players that need to step up for the Falcons in order for them to make it to the NFC Championship Game.

5. Dunta Robinson

In his first season as a Falcon, Dunta Robinson has performed fairly well.  Though he has only one interception in 2010, which came in the regular season finale against Carolina, Robinson’s presence has helped the defense as a whole.

With teams not wanting to throw Robinson’s way, they have tried to pick on Brent Grimes.  Grimes has not backed down, intercepting 5 passes this year.

Against the Packers, Robinson will be tested more.  Aaron Rodgers will be throwing his way numerous times, trying to hook up with his top wide receiver, Greg Jennings.

Robinson must contain Jennings and live up to his billing as the Falcons’ top cornerback.

4. Michael Jenkins

For the Falcons to have success in the passing game on Saturday, Michael Jenkins needs to provide Matt Ryan a third option down field.  With Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez getting most of the attention, Jenkins will be left one-on-one most of the game.

Though he only caught 41 passes this season, Jenkins can be an effective weapon.  He runs the out-route almost to perfection, which is where many of his catches have come from.

If Jenkins can eliminate some of his drops and become a threat in the red zone, the Falcons passing attack will be near impossible to stop.

3. Eric Weems

The 2010 Pro-Bowler has been a special teams weapon for the Falcons.  The highlight of his season came against Tampa Bay in Week 13 when he sparked the Falcons’ comeback with his 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

A big special teams day from Weems can give Matty Ice and the offense a short field against Clay Matthews and the Packers defense.

2. Curtis Lofton

Though banged up with injuries, it looks like Curtis Lofton will be able to give it a go on Saturday night.  To what extent he will be able to perform is still a matter of question.

If Lofton can’t play at or near 100%, the Falcons defense will be without its leader, leaving a huge hole in the middle of the defense.

On the other hand, if Lofton proves that his injury won’t affect him in the game, the Packers will have a hard time getting away from the Falcons’ leading tackler.

1. John Abraham

This is the type of game the Falcons acquired Abraham for in 2006.  In order for the Falcons to stop Aaron Rodgers, Abraham must constantly put pressure on the Packers’ quarterback.

Abraham has done good job of getting to the quarterback this year, racking up 13 sacks in 2010, with one of them coming against the Packers in Week 12.

Putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers is the key to slowing down the Packers offense, and Abraham especially needs to step up and put Rodgers on his back.

If he can do this, the Falcons have a great shot at playing in the NFC Championship game.

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