Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers: Quinn’s defense has big advantage
By Phil Wilds
The Green Bay Packers know they have to outscore the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Dan Quinn’s defense is 3-0 in these type of games this season.
Sunday’s Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons NFC Championship is expected to be an offensive shootout. If defense is a factor, it will be simply, what defense can make that one stop late in the game? In this type of game, we can count on Dan Quinn’s defense to overcome.
If you were an NFL defensive coordinator, which team offers you the more favorable match-up:
"Team A:Points Scored (2)First downs (1)Passing yards (1)Drives ending with points (2)Team B:Points scored (4)First downs (7)Passing yards (7)Drives ending with points (4)"
Both are pretty solid offenses but Team A is clearly better than Team B. It’s fair to say most defenses would rater play Team B. I should admit Team A is the New Orleans Saints, while Team B is the Green Bay Packers. This is pertinent because the Atlanta Falcons defense played Team A twice this season and won both games
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In all fairness, the above may not fully credit the final six weeks of the regular season in which Aaron Rodgers went on a tear. It’s also worth noting the Saints were the NFL’s number one offense in several categories when they came into Atlanta in Week 17. Coincidentally, the Falcons gave up 32 points to New Orleans in both regular season games. They also gave up 32 points to Green Bay back in Week 8. Atlanta still went 3-0 in those games.
The point remains that the improving Falcons defense has stared down high-octane offensive output enough times this season to know what’s ahead Sunday.
We already know the Green Bay game plan
The Packers will give Atlanta different looks due to the loss of Jordy Nelson and a hampered Devante Adams. Regardless, Atlanta can expect Green Bay’s offensive plans to be similar to Week 8. The Packers haven’t ran the ball well all season and will most definitely air it out. Even if they try to establish the run, we can count on the Falcons’ offense to throw off the Green Bay game plan. It’s hard for teams to be balanced when they get down early in the box score.
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The Saints game plan included 54 passes and 23 rushing attempts in the first game with the Falcons. Week 17 was very close with only 50 passes and still 23 rush attempts. This was the result of Atlanta establishing the early lead and not slowing down offensively.
Week 8 featured the Packers attempting 38 passes and rushing 19 times. The game was closer and Green Bay was able to have a little more balance. That doesn’t go without mentioning that the Packers’ most effective rusher that day was Rodgers. Whether it be through the air or on the ground, the task at hand is clearly ‘stop Aaron Rodgers’.
The first team to score 40 may win
Green Bay’s defense ranks 21st in points allowed and 22nd in yards allowed. Atlanta’s is slightly worse at 27th in points allowed and 25th in yards allowed. We know these defenses can give up points in bunches and probably will when they battle each other for the second time this season. That said, expect Sunday’s game to be won and lost on what the fantastic Atlanta and Green Bay offenses produce.
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The Atlanta Falcons managed to score over 30 points in 11 games during the regular season. Green Bay scored over 30 only six times, but has been over in each game since Week 13. The Packers will need to top 30 on Sunday if they expect to win.