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So this is a good one. I would think if you had to write an article about the matchup, you might have to watch the previous game they played or at least look at the box score. Not the case if you write for SI.com. 

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NFL Divisional Blanket: Taking a first look at NFC, AFC championship matchups

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And then there were four. Here's what to expect in the Championship Sunday matchups between Packers–Falcons and Steelers–Patriots.

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GREG A. BEDARD

Monday January 16th, 2017

After a lackluster wild-card round, there was a lot to savor this divisional weekend. From Matt Ryan’s varied and brilliant attack, and the former Rutgers secondary picking off the Texans for the Patriots, to Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby staring down the Cowboys’ game rookies, and a defensive battle between the Steelers and Chiefs, the divisional games were a lot of fun (well, mostly on Sunday and not counting Jason Garrett’s clock management).

But that’s all over and done with now. We’re onto championship Sunday, and let’s get an early look at the games Blanket Coverage-style.

NFL

2017 NFL Playoffs schedule: Matchups, dates, times, results

NFC Championship Game: Packers at Falcons

(Sunday, 3:05 p.m., FOX)

Go crazy, folks

Get ready for some fireworks: Hope the Georgia Dome scoreboard operator has strong fingers, because he or she is going to get a workout when the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense (33.8 points per game) hosts No. 3 (27.0). In the postseason (the Falcons have only played one game), Atlanta leads with 422 yards and is second with 36 points. Green Bay is second in yards (406) and first in points (38.0). The game opened with at 61 points over/under. Bet the over.

Kyle Shanahan is a wizard: It’s difficult to say he’s the best because there are so many good ones, but Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is certainly in the conversation for best gameplanner/playcaller in the league. He is just a master at devising schemes that attack the weaknesses of the defense. He put on a clinic in ways to attack the Seahawks’ secondary, and he’ll do it again against the Packers.

It really isn't that difficult. You know he ran the #8 scoring offense of all time.

Falcons better have a plan for Rodgers’s legs: Rodgers is on such a roll right now throwing the ball that it might seem sacrilege for him to use his feet, but the last time the Packers and Falcons met, Rodgers torched Atlanta with a team-leading 60 rushing yards on six scrambles. And Rodgers also deftly ran the read-option for two points. The Falcons had so much trouble with Rodgers (and OLB Vic Beasley was so ineffective against RT Bryan Bulaga) that they had to spy Rodgers with Beasley. The Falcons need a better plan this time around.

Torched, you say, for 60 yards, you say. Taylor Gabriel had 3 catches for 68 yards and a TD is that considered torching? He is not listed in here because? Also Beasley was so ineffective he sacked A-a-ron. Now I'm no expert but our buddy Vel pointed out that Vic didn't have to beat the unbeatable Bulaga to sack Rodgers. Also is using your fast pass rusher as a spy, where he gets a sack mind you, a negative? Not sure that's the case.

Packers linebackers beware: One of the best things Shanahan does is use his lethal backfield (Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman) in coordination with his receivers to target off-the-ball linebackers where he sees a mismatch. Shanahan saw one the first time these teams played, as the Falcons killed Packers LBs Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas in the short and intermediate zones.

Julio Jones needs to be healthy: Jones looked pretty gimpy on his chronic turf toe against the Seahawks, and while Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Jones is fine, they’ll need him for the whole 60 minutes to keep up with Rodgers. Jones was also dealing with an injury in the first matchup.

The Falcons didn't need Julio last time to "keep up with Rodgers."

Slow your roll

In this one, the first matchup matters: The two teams met in Week 8 at the same site and that game matters, because while there have been a lot of personnel changes since then (Clay Matthews, Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb back for Packers; Tevin Coleman for the Falcons), the way the game unfolded is familiar. Yes, the Packers’ 33–32 loss to the Falcons was the start of their four-game losing streak, but largely what we saw out of Green Bay then was the same as what we’ve seen from it as of late. Aaron Rodgers was great (four touchdowns, 125.5 rating, 6 of 10 on third downs) and the defense struggled to close the deal (it gave up a 75-yard touchdown drive starting with 3:58 remaining). Same with the Falcons. They were great on offense, but struggled to contain Rodgers. This matchup will be no different. It will likely be decided by who has the ball last.

Whoa, same with the Falcons but you can't write more than 10 words about it. Is there a reason why you can't gush about Matt Ryan or point out how the Packers couldn't contain him? Here I will fill it in for you. Matt had a 129.5 QB rating and only 3 TDs because the Falcons arent one dimensional, they can run the ball also 4-9 on third down and 1-1 on 4th down. The Falcons defense didn't struggle on defense to close the game. A-a-ron was 0-1 on 4th down. The Falcons scored on 6 of 9 drives in the game with 2 punts and the final kneel down. The Packers scored on 5 of nine drives with 3 punts and the final drive ending on those downs because one of the defenses in this game had more stops than the other. Must have been A-a-ron right?

NFL

Matt Ryan makes the Falcons look nearly unstoppable in rout of Seahawks

Defense doesn’t matter: Conventional wisdom says that defense shows up in the biggest games. Forget this one. Just like in their divisional victories, the Falcons and Packers advanced because of their offenses and the ability of the opposing offenses to keep pace. Both these defenses are on the poor side, especially the Falcons. That being said, Atlanta better have a better plan for Packers DT Mike Daniels because he owned both of its guards in the first matchup. Falcons OLB Vic Beasley has come on this season, but the Packers’ pass protection is outstanding. If you thought Rodgers had a lot of time to throw against the Cowboys…just wait.

Poor side? See above. More stops. I watched the game in Atlanta earlier this year, the one you referenced above. I don't remember A-a-ron having a ton of time to throw the ball....I guess we will just have to wait.

 

I am not saying this will be a big blow out. Probably a pretty close and exciting game that could go either way, but if you read these articles there seems to be a narrative emerging or already has emerged, Rodgers is unstoppable and the other players on his team are more in the way than the ones on the opponent. The Falcons must stand no chance.

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3 minutes ago, Golden State Dirty Bird said:

It seems like this is Aaron's world and everyone else is just living in it..  Really hope we spoil his party next sunday :) 

yeah i'm pretty sick of it. I mean you know it's gotten bad when the question of the day everywhere yesterday was "is rodgers the best EVER" or the "best player on the planet". Sure the pass at the end of the game was great, but the catch was greater imho....but...and Maybe it's my imagination...but i seem to recall him throwing  an interception that completely turned the game around and if not for some bad clock management by the cowboys, there would have been at least overtime after they blew an 18 point lead. 

But hey...he's the best ever so god forbid if we interrupt their rodgers fantasy with reality. 

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1 minute ago, diehardfalconsfan said:

yeah i'm pretty sick of it. I mean you know it's gotten bad when the question of the day everywhere yesterday was "is rodgers the best EVER" or the "best player on the planet". Sure the pass at the end of the game was great, but the catch was greater imho....but...and Maybe it's my imagination...but i seem to recall him throwing  an interception that completely turned the game around and if not for some bad clock management by the cowboys, there would have been at least overtime after they blew an 18 point lead. 

But hey...he's the best ever so god forbid if we interrupt their rodgers fantasy with reality. 

Less then 40 seconds to play. You have the best RB and offensive line in the game. You need 3 yards. What do you do? Throw the ball to stop the clock. Nice call Garrett.

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1 minute ago, diehardfalconsfan said:

yeah i'm pretty sick of it. I mean you know it's gotten bad when the question of the day everywhere yesterday was "is rodgers the best EVER" or the "best player on the planet". Sure the pass at the end of the game was great, but the catch was greater imho....but...and Maybe it's my imagination...but i seem to recall him throwing  an interception that completely turned the game around and if not for some bad clock management by the cowboys, there would have been at least overtime after they blew an 18 point lead. 

But hey...he's the best ever so god forbid if we interrupt their rodgers fantasy with reality. 

Yeah the media bias is completely off the charts this week..  They call him clutch, yet they never speak of the game against us when he choked in the 4th quarter.  They say that pass was the greatest ever, I can find three passes on youtube that were more epic.  The guy can run around and make plays happen, I'll give him that.  But the best ever?!  It's funny when the media speaks about how AR12 makes everyone on the team better..  Then they talk about Matt Ryan and it's all about all the weapons he's surrounded with.  

I've never bought into the Hype with the guy, he's top 5..  I don't think he's above Tom Brady or Drew Bress though..

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11 minutes ago, droopy1592 said:

Seems like everyone is riding Rodgers ****. 

Of course.

I knew that was going to happen if he beat the 'great' Cowboys.

Don't get me wrong.... Rogers is a great QB but I knew it was going to be a love fest if they beat the Cowboys.

One thing EVERYONE is overlooking... the kicker making 50 yard field goals.  Those things add up and I can't recall the exact game but I want to say we lost a game to GB years back where the kicker kept making long field goals.

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1 minute ago, nomak said:

It's frustrating reading articles like this but it won't change.  When the Falcons beat Green Bay the SB game will be can the Falcons do this or that, can Matt finally prove he is an elite QB and worthy of the MVP...yaa daa yaa daa...yaa daa... 

We're not going to be blessed with an easy path.

If we beat GB then the talk will be about the great Tom Brady or the great Ben Rothlesberger who would have just beaten the great TB.

If the Falcons want a championship and greatness they are definitely going to have to earn it...

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I've been watching die-hard fan YouTube videos about the upcoming matchup, and they seem much more educated than most media writers. They realize the Falcons have the better roster and defense. It's still hilarious to me how some say we have a terrible defense but fail to point out how we have allowed under 20 ppg since our bye I believe. It should be slightly lower if not for garbage time TDs by the saints. 

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27 minutes ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Of course.

I knew that was going to happen if he beat the 'great' Cowboys.

Don't get me wrong.... Rogers is a great QB but I knew it was going to be a love fest if they beat the Cowboys.

One thing EVERYONE is overlooking... the kicker making 50 yard field goals.  Those things add up and I can't recall the exact game but I want to say we lost a game to GB years back where the kicker kept making long field goals.

Which means you need to stop Rodgers from getting to about our 33 every drive.

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2 hours ago, diehardfalconsfan said:

yeah i'm pretty sick of it. I mean you know it's gotten bad when the question of the day everywhere yesterday was "is rodgers the best EVER" or the "best player on the planet". Sure the pass at the end of the game was great, but the catch was greater imho....but...and Maybe it's my imagination...but i seem to recall him throwing  an interception that completely turned the game around and if not for some bad clock management by the cowboys, there would have been at least overtime after they blew an 18 point lead. 

But hey...he's the best ever so god forbid if we interrupt their rodgers fantasy with reality. 

If you listen to the talking heads this week, you get the impression that Rodgers puts up 70+ pts per game , every game, and they are shocked he doesn't just catch his own passes.   

No one brings up that Ryan's stats during this "historic run by Rodgers" are almost identical during the same stretch, and in some ways better.   No one brings up how much better the Falcons defense has played since the bye. 

No one is bringing up Quinn's record against GB.  

I think our speed on defense will be on full display in this game.  I personally don't believe it's going to be the epic shootout it's being made out

I'm looking at a similar score to the Seattle game.  I think we take this 38 - 14, unless we give up some cheap late touchdown then 38 - 28.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jesus said:

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So this is a good one. I would think if you had to write an article about the matchup, you might have to watch the previous game they played or at least look at the box score. Not the case if you write for SI.com. 

I am not saying this will be a big blow out. Probably a pretty close and exciting game that could go either way, but if you read these articles there seems to be a narrative emerging or already has emerged, Rodgers is unstoppable and the other players on his team are more in the way than the ones on the opponent. The Falcons must stand no chance.

This seems to be the rhetoric that Packers fans and believers are using. It is fallacious of course. I've been debating against Packer fans on youtube and their reasoning goes as follows:

1. Julio is injured, and since Julio is the best player for the Falcons, the offense is doomed.

2. Aaron Rodgers is "hot" right now, and that he will destroy the Falcons.

3. The GB Packers were injured the first time the 2 teams met, but despite being even more injured that there "momentum" will overcome the Falcons.

These guys don't realize that while JJ gets the most attention, he only accounts for 5 TDs of Matt's 38. They also ignore the fact that Jordy Nelson is doubtful, and he accounts for 15 of Rodgers 40 TDs. So for some reason the lack of Julio, which is wrong since he will be playing, will effect the Falcons offense more, while ignoring the Nelson injury.

As for the "hot" issue. This is nothing but NFL hyperbole. There is no stat for "hot". It is not even a well defined term. In reality it is meaningless. Usually people use the term "hot" when a team or player is on a winning streak, but then when that winning streak is over, and then all of a sudden the team that beat them is "hotter". It is useless jargon like "spirit" and "pure energy". It is woo language. 

They also forget that the winner is based on the better team, and not just one player. Even if Rodgers is the better QB, at best it is slight, and they are ignoring the entire offense and focusing on 1 player which is nothing more than a special pleading fallacy. Also the assumption that because a player is doing well automatically means they will continue to do so is a gambler's fallacy. This is the most common mistake among fans.

As for the injuries, they are using a double standard as well as contradicting themselves.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Intellectually Honest said:

This seems to be the rhetoric that Packers fans and believers are using. It is fallacious of course. I've been debating against Packer fans on youtube and their reasoning goes as follows:

1. Julio is injured, and since Julio is the best player for the Falcons, the offense is doomed.

2. Aaron Rodgers is "hot" right now, and that he will destroy the Falcons.

3. The GB Packers were injured the first time the 2 teams met, but despite being even more injured that there "momentum" will overcome the Falcons.

These guys don't realize that while JJ gets the most attention, he only accounts for 5 TDs of Matt's 38. They also ignore the fact that Jordy Nelson is doubtful, and he accounts for 15 of Rodgers 40 TDs. So for some reason the lack of Julio, which is wrong since he will be playing, will effect the Falcons offense more, while ignoring the Nelson injury.

As for the "hot" issue. This is nothing but NFL hyperbole. There is no stat for "hot". It is not even a well defined term. In reality it is meaningless. Usually people use the term "hot" when a team or player is on a winning streak, but then when that winning streak is over, and then all of a sudden the team that beat them is "hotter". It is useless jargon like "spirit" and "pure energy". It is woo language. 

They also forget that the winner is based on the better team, and not just one player. Even if Rodgers is the better QB, at best it is slight, and they are ignoring the entire offense and focusing on 1 player which is nothing more than a special pleading fallacy. Also the assumption that because a player is doing well automatically means they will continue to do so is a gambler's fallacy. This is the most common mistake among fans.

As for the injuries, they are using a double standard as well as contradicting themselves.

 

 

Dude, who are you, and what did you do to the real IH?!

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3 hours ago, Sun Tzu 7 said:

One thing is for sure...Quinn and Smith need to take a look and learn something from BVG and Rod Maranelli...

You'd better have a different gameplan than the one you beat them with in the regular season because Rogers and McCarthy will be ready for it.... and rip it apart.

He knows this. The gameplan against Seattle was different than the first game. Plus we will have jones and Campbell together. Team speed will be much faster than the last game. Plus the defense is better. GB's defense is about the same. Maybe worse with some injuries they had. 

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