The Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers will play for an NFC Championship Game berth Saturday night in the Georgia Dome.
This is a rematch of their Thanksgiving weekend battle which the Falcons won 20-17. And if the second game is anything like the first one, we are in for a real treat.
But before I get to the keys of this upcoming game it is important to note what happened in their first meeting.
The Green Bay Packers trailed 17-10 going into the final minutes of the fourth quarter. They would get down into the redzone and Aaron Rodgers connected on a ten-yard pass to tie the game up at 17 with 56 seconds left on the clock.
But that was 56 seconds too much for Matt Ryan and this Atlanta Falcons offense.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers thought that this game was going into to overtime, but the Falcons offense never blinked.
It started with a 40-yard return as well as a 15-yard penalty so the Falcons had the ball on the Packers 49-yard line.
If Act II is anything like Act I, then we are in for a real treat. But what are the quick keys to this game.
1. Running the Ball- The Packers leading rusher against the Falcons in their first meeting was Aaron Rodgers. If he is their leading rusher again, the Packers will lose. The Packers have struggled throughout the year running the ball, but hit a hot streak against the Eagles. For the Packers to win they will need to rush for at least 100 yards, if they don’t the Falcons will win.
The same holds true for the Falcons. They also have to be able to run the ball. Michael Turner ran for 110 yards in their first meeting on 23 carries and scored once. If the Falcons are going to win they need to establish their running game, and they can’t fumble it at the goalline.
2. Execution– This can be said about any football game at any level. The game will come down to execution. Whatever team can execute their gameplan the best will win the game. This isn’t something that you can see coming. The Falcons offense, for the most part, has been one of the most consistent offenses in the NFL. And the reason for this is execution, they just do it better than anyone else.
3. Georgia Dome- I don’t care that Matt Ryan lost to the Saints earlier this season. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are still a very tough team to beat in the Georgia Dome. Matt Ryan has only lost 2 games during his career at home. But his success isn’t just limited to the Georgia Dome and Atlanta. No other QB since 1970 has won more games than he did in his first three years—he is tied with Dan Marino with 33 wins.
The Georgia Dome will be rocking Saturday night and I can’t wait to be there. It will be a great atmosphere as the result of a great game.