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NFC Conference Championship: Packers at Falcons

January 22, 2017 • Ben Heck • Atlanta Falcons, Front Page, Green Bay Packers, NFC, NFC North, NFC South, NFL Playoffs, Predictions, Preview

Championship Sunday is here, meaning just three more games left in the 2016-17 NFL season (excluding next weekend’s Pro Bowl).

At 3:05 P.M. (ET), the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons will face off in the final game at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

How the Green Bay Packers can win…

Green Bay’s defense has struggled this season, there’s no doubt about that. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Green Bay ranked 21st in points allowed and 22nd in yards allowed. Luckily for the Packers, All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been playing out of his mind and receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery is helping to rejuvenate the team’s rushing attack. In a 34-31 win over Dallas in the Divisional Round last week, Montgomery scored two touchdowns while Rodgers played classic Rodgers football in the closing minutes. But this defense will need to do something they struggled to do last week: force turnovers.

How the Atlanta Falcons can win…

Atlanta just got done dropped 36 points on Seattle, one of the toughest defenses in the league. Over the last five games, Atlanta has dropped 30+ points, and even dropped 40+ in two of those games. So, yes, they aren’t shy about scoring. This season’s highest-scoring offense is about to go head-to-head with a defense that allowed 24.3 points per game this year. Green Bay dropped 34 against Dallas and they even managed 32 points in a Week 8 match-up with this same Falcons team. Green Bay will need to force a few costly Atlanta mistakes to keep pace with this offense, and that will be tough to do against a team that has turned the ball over just 11 times all year.

Our pick: Falcons, 35-24

Another high-scoring affair for quarterback Matt Ryan and his Falcons, as they earn a trip to the franchise’s second-ever Super Bowl appearance. One of the things Atlanta has done so well with this season is protecting the football, and a balanced attack while protecting the football could be the perfect storm for the Falcons to say goodbye to the Georgia Dome in style.

Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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