The numerous amount of targets for Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan just set a record for hitting the most number of receivers for touchdown passes ever in a single season. Ryan hit 13 different receivers for touchdown passes, speaking to both his patience and the numerous amount of athletes he has at his availability. The Green Bay secondary has been the weakest part of their team for the majority of the season and that has not changed during the postseason. Injuries have not helped the Packers as well, as they will be monitoring several of their players prior to Sunday’s matchup. Both Morgan Brunett and Quentin Rollins are questionable. If one or both of those players cannot go, it is going to be a very long day for this Green Bay secondary. Atlanta already had a lot of success through the air in the first matchup. Look for Atlanta to attack the secondary early and often, and for Ryan to do a terrific job of spreading the ball around.
The Packers inability to consistently run the ball
Ty Montgomery has done a fantastic job for the Packers as a replacement running back. Seemingly out of nowhere, the former wider receiver has transformed into a very elusive back. However, the Packers do not have the type of consistent rushing attack that can pound this Falcons defensive front. If the Packers want to beat the Falcons, they are going to need to control the time of possession. Aaron Rodgers was the leading rusher for Green Bay in the first matchup by a large margin. Atlanta has done a better job of limiting QBs from hurting them with their legs of late, and it was displayed against Seattle last weekend. A fully-healthy Russell Wilson was under constant duress and limited Wilson from making plays with his legs. Rodgers can be even more dangerous than Wilson running with the ball and throwing on the run. Atlanta has to keep that same focus on limiting Rodgers from making plays with his legs that they did with Wilson.
The Packers will not be able to take advantage of what has proven to be a vulnerable rush defense of the Falcons. There is a way to beat Atlanta, but it revolves around controlling the game on the ground. Green Bay will not be able to do that on Sunday.
Atlanta’s improvement on defense
Not many people are going to talk about either of these defense’s heading into Sunday’s matchup. Atlanta’s defense was one of the worst in the NFL over the course of the season, ranking 25th in total defense and 27th in scoring defense. However, that has gotten much better as of late. Since their bye week, the Falcons defense has allowed just over 20 points a game. They have been able to generate consistent pressure, control opponent’s running games and create turnovers. After giving up an opening drive touchdown, Atlanta’s defense locked down the Seahawks attack. Thomas Rawls, after his stellar performance against Detroit, was held to just 34 yards on 11 carries. The whole Atlanta team is coming together at the right time, and it could be the perfect formula to get them past the Packers and into the Super Bowl.