This side of the tournament was much more difficult to figure out. I could honestly see both games coming down to the final possession, whether it be a last second field goal or whatever, these games are going to be close. The Packers and 49ers played in the very first week of the season at Lambeau with the Niners dominating but both of these teams are clearly different squads. 49ers have a new starting QB and the Packers are led by a red-hot Aaron Rodgers. Down in Atlanta the momentum heavy Seahawks are looking to once again upset an opponent as the try and play spoiler to Atlanta’s party. Can Atlanta finally shed their playoff demons? There are lots of NFL fans around the country that believe Atlanta isn’t as good as it’s 13-3 record and don’t deserve the #1 seed. I can’t wait for these games to start.
Keys to each game: For the Packers, as usual, it’s going to be about how much Rodgers can carry the team on offense. Everyone knows that the Niners have an excellent defense so watch how Rodgers responds to pressure throughout the game. The Niners defense isn’t at full health so I want to see just how much pressure they actually get on Rodgers, anything to disrupt the Packers pass offense. How will Colin Kaepernick perform in the first playoff start of his career? Kaepernick’s mobility could be problem for the Packers but look for the Niners QB to find his favorite target, Crabtree, early and often. Also, both of these teams are facing issues with their kickers so watch out for that as well.
The Seahawks will have to use all of their momentum, especially on defense to stop the array of weapons that the Falcons can put on the field. Seattle is dealing with injuries at key positions on defense so it will have to be seen how much that affects the amount of pressure that is put on Matt Ryan. The biggest factor for the Falcons on offense will be how much seperation their elite receivers (Jones and White) can get against the Seahawks’ great corners. Things might get pretty intense on the sidelines with balls thrown deep. Both defenses are among the best in league in takeaways so a turnover is most likely going to result in a big play for the other team.
Prediction: I flipped back and forth between these two games, not knowing which teams to pick because I feel every single one of teams deserves to be in the NFC title game. Can Atlanta finally prove they can perform when it matters most? I’m taking Seattle and their momentum. Along with Wilson’s ability to win games from out of nowhere. Until I see Atlanta come through when it matters most, i’m hesitant to take them. Prove me wrong Falcons. As for the Packers-49ers game, everyone else’s guess is as good as mine. I think these teams are extremely close and either could take the victory. If I have to put my money on something, it’s going to be the better QB and that’s Rodgers. Packers win a very close game. Maybe we’re just destined to see a rematch of the “fail mary” to settle the score once and for all.
Enjoy the games everyone.