Why Packers will win the NFC Championship and Why They Might Not

Going from back-to-back losing seasons, to one win away from the Super Bowl has been incredible for the Green Bay Packers this season, but the ride isn't over just yet.

After using an old-school performance from Aaron Rodgers and a stellar day from the defense, as well as Davante Adams, Green Bay snuck past Seattle, setting up a rematch of the 37-8 debacle from earlier in the season.

Green Bay was never ready to play in that game. Bryan Bulaga was hurt and an early fumble just killed momentum. Aaron Jones went nowhere and Adams wasn't able to do much of anything outside a late touchdown.

George Kittle also tore the Packers to shreds with six receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. But as badly as things went the first time, the Packers have to feel better about their chances this time around and at the very least, with Bulaga expected to go, along with Allen Lazard, Green Bay is as close to healthy as it can possibly be.

That's the exact opposite of where the Packers stood the last time they reached the NFC Championship Game. That was back in 2016, following the incredible run-the-table comment from Rodgers, which led to eight straight wins, including two in the postseason.

But when Green Bay walked into Atlanta, you knew the Packers could only win in some sort of shootout. The defense had little pass rush then and the corners were even worse. 

The formula for victory was essentially hope for 2-3 turnovers and sacks from the defense, while letting Rodgers carry the offense and really the entire team on his back.

He certainly did it for a long time. Yet, that game was a reminder that the Packers needed a reboot if they were going to have a serious shot of winning the Super Bowl again and just three years later, here they are, on the doorstep of the big game.

Beating San Francisco, which has been the best team in the NFC all season will be a tremendous challenge. But the Packers have assembled a team capable of doing just that. 

Green Bay has a quarterback, a defense equipped with pass rushers, actual playmakers in the secondary, a beast inside in Kenny Clark and a running game. 

You need some dudes on defense to win championships and with ZaDarius Smith, Preston Smith, Clark, Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos and Blake Martinez, the Packers have some.

Last week, when the game was on the line, Rodgers made some incredible throws. But if it wasn't for the sack by Preston Smith, Rodgers may have gotten the ball trailing. 

Instead, the Packers did a great job of playing complimentary football and even though the old man doesn't have to do it all, he can still carry the load from time to time.

At any rate, this team seems to have a much stronger chance than in 2016, even as it gets ready to face a team that beat it by 29 points just two months ago.

So here's why the Packers could end up in the Super Bowl or back in the office, starting the offseason on Monday.

Why Green Bay will win

It's hard to say that the Packers are going to win this game, but there is definitely a chance. They are going to be underdogs and rightfully so. The 49ers, on paper, have the more complete team. Jimmy Garoppolo has been outstanding and Kittle has been out of this world. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders has also made the offense even more dangerous and we all know about the defense, with its pass rush and Richard Sherman.

If there is one so-called weakness of the 49ers though, it's the run defense and that's where Green Bay has to succeed if it wants to win.

Jones will need to have a big day. When he plays well, the offense is tough to beat and with runs, screens, passes, any way possible, Matt LaFleur needs to get him the ball. 

Sherman will probably be all over Adams, so Jones and Jamaal Williams will need to be a focal point. The Packers also need to keep moving around Adams to try and get him in the slot and with a free release as much as possible.

Of course, the thing that matters more than all of that is the offensive line holding up. If that doesn't happen, Green Bay won't hang in this game.

Rodgers is going to get hit and sacked, that's just the nature of the beast, but the Packers, who are arguably as good pass protecting up front as any team left, have got to give him time to operate.

Bulaga has been stellar this season and he will need to be on his game Sunday, along with Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner. 

A ball-control offense that avoids turnovers and cashes in on scoring opportunties will be required to win this game.

Turnovers often make the difference in postseason games and just look at the Titans upset of the Ravens last week. 

A few plays can change the game and to put it simply, Green Bay needs some of those plays defensively. 

Garoppolo has been outstanding, but he does have the highest interception rate of any quarterback still playing and he should give Green Bay some chances.

To win, the Packers have to sack and intercept the 49ers QB. In the past though, that was a much taller order than it is now with a new and improved defense.

Is it a Super Bowl defense? We will find out Sunday.

Why Green Bay might lose

It's hard to argue that San Francisco is a really complete team with few weakensses. The 49ers, outside of losses to Atlanta and Seattle, have been really good at home and looked sharp last week against Minnesota.

Still, this is only Garoppolo's second playoff start. He wasn't perfect last week, however, when your defense forces turnovers and you are able to run the ball 47 times, it takes a lot of pressure off the quarterback.

That's exactly what the Packers can't allow. They have to stuff the run and use the pass rush to force Jimmy G into mistakes and hopefully turnovers.

Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. The same can be said about covering Kittle, who could be the biggest concern of the Packers heading in.

If the Packers can't find a way to contain him or at least the running game, it will be a long day.

Playing on the road doesn't make the task any easier. But Rodgers only NFC title win came on the road and when Green Bay last played in San Francisco for the NFC crown, back in 1997, it won.

We all know Rodgers will be motivated against his hometown team and now we just have to sit back and see if he's able to come up with some magic. 

 

 

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

2 points

Comments (49)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Houndog's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:39 am

C'mon Chris,
Now you've got me hoping Greg Kittle takes George's place in the lineup.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Leatherhead's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:39 pm

I think that at this point in the season all the teams are good and the difference in the game will be the leadership of the GM, the HC, and the star players. Can Aaron Rodgers lead this team to a win in a championship game?

We’ll find out soon. But there is no McCarthy holding him back, we have a defense, we have a line and the league’s top TD scorer, and he’s healthy. If he succeeds, we’ll all be happy; if he doesn’t, the blame game will start.

Personally, I think this is a Legacy game for Rodgers. I predict he’ll play well.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Cubbygold's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:36 am

If you ask Niners Nation, the only way GB wins is if the refs hand the game to them. There's nothing about the pack that remotely concerns them. There's a lot of confidence over there, almost like they're unaware that there's already been multiple big home upsets in this playoffs alone.

The reality is SF may win 7 times if they play 10. But we're only playing once and that's what makes this game so fun. Play hard for 60 minutes and anything can happen. Go Pack!

+ REPLY
9 points
9
0
Houndog's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:45 am

Cubby,
As a Packer fan living in 49er territory I can guarantee you that the average family dog in GB knows more about football than most 49er fans.
In Harbaugh's final season (with a poor record) their stadium was near empty on a Nationally broadcast Thanksgiving night game, and they call themselves 'Fans", Pffffft! I could give you a list of examples, but it'd take 6 pages.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
PackfanNY's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:42 am

No doubt the Packers are the underdog today. However, nothing is impossible. I think the key here is survive the early storm. No turnovers unlike the first game. Establish the run and short passing game. More obvious is stay out of 3rd and long where they can just pin their ears back and come. Stick with the run even if you struggle early. Give Aaron Rodgers the chance to be Aaron Rodgers. He will rise to the moment if given the chance.

On defense we need to stop the run. Let Garoppolo try and beat you through the air. He has weapons but we all know he is capable of the big interception. Let the Smith Brothers do their work. They can rattle the cage. The deeper this game gets the more pressure the home favorite feels.

Win or lose this has been a fun and entertaining season. Today though is a day to believe in our team. Packers win 24-21.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
murf7777's picture

January 19, 2020 at 08:25 am

I agree, it goes back to real physical football which is played in the trenches. We must be better then them on both LOS and we win this game. Run and stop the run.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Thegravedigger's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:55 am

Our d front can win in the trenches against there o line. If our o line just plays up to there standard, they can at least hold there own. Our tackles are beastss, elgton j has been rock solid, and linsley and turner might lose some battles but they are no slouches either. The big question is can sullivan and blake cover kittle? Cus the niners are gonna try and exploit blake. And we need to stay out of situations with martinez one on one with kittle. And martinez in zone, that seems to be even worse. He kind of just sits there in his zone, he doesnt have the instincts to know when to leave your zone and go into man. He is who he is. Pettine needs to help minimize this problem, with safetys or sullivan or even raven greene.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jannes bjornson's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:18 pm

The last guy you want in coverage on Kittle is Martinez. Pettine should dedicate that coverage to Tramon and Sullivan.
Garappollo is a guy that can be blitzed when you take away his first read.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegravedigger's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:14 pm

I think your right about tramon on kittle. Hes got more years than all 4 starters combined. And he can still run. Pettine likes to mix it up tho. But he shouldn't try to mix it up too much. Put the guy whos been there done that on there rising star te. Because even tho tramons not the same speed that he used to be, he has enough speed to cover kittle. But im sure mike pettine knows more than me.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Boneman's picture

January 19, 2020 at 08:12 am

It's crazy fun to read all the predictions and analysis on how the Pack can win. The prevailing consensus seems to be that the 9ers have more talent and should win. We have to run the ball or pass short to Jones, Williams and Irvin. We have to win the turnover battle. We have to stop their running game. Really? HAVE WE BEEN WATCHING THIS TEAM? They don't need to do anything specifically. They just need to make the plays when they need them. The 49ers can rush for 200 yards but if we stop them from scoring TD's and get some 3rd or 4th down stops, we can win. If we can't run the ball consistently, that's OK, just hit on some clutch runs to support some clutch throws and score TD's when we have the opportunity. This team wins ugly and i expect we do it again. Make more plays in timely situations and let them get the stats. I'm OK with that because we've shown we win those games. I'm much more confident in this team than the beat up team that last got into the NFCCG. We are set up to win the Super Bowl THIS YEAR and I can't wait! Go Pack go!

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
murf7777's picture

January 19, 2020 at 09:20 am

Bone...you have some logic there, but the prevailing reason they have won or lost is due to turnovers so if packers turn the ball over More then them and allow them to control the clock with long running drives, I don’t think the opportunities will be there enough for those timely plays. That’s why we have to control the LOS and play more physical then them. That will allow those timely plays to happen. GPG!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 19, 2020 at 09:24 am

I just don't see AR loosing three consecutive NFC championship games. I think it will be a tough game. But AR will once again lead this team to victory.

+ REPLY
0 points
2
2
fastmoving's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:11 pm

"Once again"….was the good one.

He wasnt a playoff beast even in his prime...…….besides the magical run of course.

But maybe he finally carried them on his back.....

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Gort's picture

January 19, 2020 at 08:48 am

Must come out ready to play. If they come out flat, it could be over quick, just like last time.
If they come out all fired up, then they very well could play another game in 2 weeks.
GO PACK GO

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
jannes bjornson's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Get the ball into the Playmakers hands, forget the scrubs.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Lphill's picture

January 19, 2020 at 08:50 am

Titans will never beat the Ravens.

+ REPLY
2 points
4
2
Leatherhead's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:41 pm

And the Titanic could never sink.......

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Handsback's picture

January 19, 2020 at 09:03 am

Both teams are healthy and at full strength.There won't be any excuses after the game like, if we only had so and so back we could have won. I have a hard time remembering when the last time a Packer team went to a conference championship game with a full compliment of their players.
Will this game be about which team has the better coach? I don't think so, since both teams are riding their senior player's leadership. So in essence this is about only two things....which team plays better and which team gets the the bounce of the ball. Unless you have a Ray Lewis player on D, the QB will be the deciding factor. Rodgers has enough skill/savvy/experience to pull off the win. Which team gets the bounce? Have no idea. So all that said, I feel Rodgers makes it happen in this game. Green Bay's Oline maybe with Lewis playing that extra blocker a lot gives Rodgers time and they keep from making mistakes and win.
Packers 28
49er-24.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Gort's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:10 am

JK Scott was added to injury report yesterday with an illness.
He plays 2 key roles - punter and holder.
Hope he can go or there are possible big problems.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jannes bjornson's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm

He's not a quitter.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Gort's picture

January 19, 2020 at 03:56 pm

I don't think he's a quitter, but if he were sick last week, then he may not have successfully handled a less than perfect snap.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 01:23 pm

"There won't be any excuses after the game"

That's funniest thing I've ever heard from a Packer fan.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
flackcatcher's picture

January 19, 2020 at 09:19 am

Sometime I forget that we all live in a land of 1000 hot takes. It does get a bit annoying in weeks like this. If your a follower of this blog, then you know what's been said, and that other 'analysis' stuff. Come on, let the hitting begin. (On the pregame shows that is.. :-) Over at Packer Maven, Bill Huber (former Packer Report) has the most complete round up prior to game time if a reader wants to drill deep. So, on to the SHORT FLACKY.... Offense: Both offensives are mirror images. Outside of 11 or 12 personnel it all comes down to who executes their game better. That's it. 49ers should have the advantage being in the system a good year longer. Outside of that, it's a pick-em. Defense: 49ers defense is good, but overrated. They will over pursue and get careless in their combo zone. There will be gaps and voids in the second level. Green Bay: Truly an underrated group all year. Their ability to shut down offensives inside the their 30 has been remarkable all season. With former starter Raven Greene back, we will wait to see what Mike Pettine has cooked up this week. How healthy the DL is will play a key in how light Pettine plays at the second level. Kickers: JK Scott has the flu, he will play today. Enough said. Mason Crosby. (here it comes..) PAY THE MAN! Special Teams: Has come a very long way over the last 6 games. Is no longer a net negative for the Packers. (Looks skyward...) This game will be decided by the Packer defense as it has been all season. Packers 24, 49ers 17. (OK OK, shorter than before... :-)

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
PatrickGB's picture

January 19, 2020 at 09:31 am

You never know they just might win. But then most don’t think they will. For me it’s about how well our offensive line plays and how much pressure our defensive line pressures.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Bure9620's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:34 am

The X factor in my opinion, is the Secondary. Yes our secondary. It is quite clear Gute has made the remake of the secondary his primary focus and number 1 priority with this roster. Jaire is a first round pick, Savage is a first round pick we traded back up for after going through several safeties last year, King is a high second round pick, (Jackson was a 2nd as well). The large free agent signing of Amos and in addition bringing back Tramon. Gute has spent more draft capital in the secondary than any other position group. It is time for that investment to pay off. If the Packers secondary can blanket Sanders and Samuel and in addition have a plan for Kittle, no big chunck plays, and create a turnover, we will win. It will be a slog against this defense, I do not see the Packers scoring more than 20/21 points. If this secondary can step up and cover or even create turnovers then our rush WILL get home. However, if the niners pass catchers are running free and we are playing catch up, then we lose.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Packers0808's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:39 am

I really believe if the Packers can score on their first possession either 3 or 7 it will go a long way in their confidence and then go on to play a real good game and get the win! They need some real boost at game beginning like a score, turnover etc really early! Go Packers!

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Lphill's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:52 am

Rodgers has been wanting to make the 49 ers feel sorry they didn’t draft him , well , “it is time” a great man once said.

+ REPLY
-1 points
1
2
Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:28 am

Please stop it...Rodgers has made them regret it with the SB win in 2010-11 season and has failed since because it's a chip that only has merit while siting on the shoulder of some fans.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
fastmoving's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:19 pm

Green was a good player with a lot of sacks, but he was not a great man by any means

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:24 am

The Packers have been really lucky this season and everyone knows it but most can't or won't accept it. Yes, they have won some games because they actually played better than the opponent, but those wins are much fewer than the games they won, though being dead for half a game or by actually having the better team. And that is what will determine the winner of this game.

What are the odds on the Packers not looking comatose for half the game and the Niners' playing to a level that will accommodate the Packers comatose state that rears its 'ugliness' in every game.

The Packers do not match up well with SF at any position, less the not so large separation of QB's, which Rodgers still gets for reasons other than this seasons play.

This game won't be a repeat of the more recent game, but it won't take much of a comatose state from the Packers to make it a repeat and that is the only difference MLF needs to ensure to have a chance for victory, as the Packers can and have shown the ability to play equal to any opponent. Not weekly consistent but enough to think it possible but not highly plausible.

I have the Packers +7.5 and sincerely hope they don't need any of it..

+ REPLY
0 points
3
3
SterlingSharpe's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:07 pm

I like a fellow gambler. No we don't match up well against them, based on what we saw in November. But think about this: Their strength is their front-7, their pass rush. So wouldn't it be nice if we had a good OLine, good in pass-protection? Wait, we do, one of the best.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had a talented QB? Oh, we do. But wouldn't it be nice if we had an experienced QB who's been there, done it before? Oh, yeah, we do.

But we need a defense. Wait, don't we have a great pair of hungry edge-rushers? And a great (one only) interior Dlineman in Kenny Clark?

I'm telling you, yes we could get routed like in Atlanta 3 years ago, and like at San Francisco in the 2013 playoff game, and like in November there.
But we also could start well, hang around, and steal this victory.
I want to win the coin-toss, defer, and then have our D beat the shit out of them for a quick 3 & out and a Swervin Ervin return to the house like Desmond Howard did against the 49ers in a 1997 playoff game.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:50 pm

"I want to win the coin-toss, defer, and then have our D beat the shit out of them for a quick 3 & out and a Swervin Ervin return to the house like Desmond Howard did against the 49ers in a 1997 playoff game."

You want a lot.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:37 pm

Taryinfor 12, The line has now gone to SF-8. I'm in uncharted territory. This is something I can't remember seeing. I'm betting GB, but to tell you the truth, I don't know why. I hope AR's 4th NFC Championship game weighs Heavy in GB's favor. Everyone here is picking KC & SF. 8 Pt's are Too Many, Hope I'm wrong.
LVT

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:51 pm

That has me in uncharted territory. You think SF-8 is too many and you hope your wrong when you have GB+8????????????????

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

January 19, 2020 at 04:04 pm

Taryinfor12, Who in their right mind wouldn't bet GB +8 +285. Vegas knows what they are doing. I'm missing something here. I believe GB is going to win this game Outright. I just don't get the line. This looks like a Big Trap. Vegas should be Bankrupt by 6:30. Yes I think 8 is too many. Go Pack Go.
LVT

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
SterlingSharpe's picture

January 19, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Everyone out there is looking forward to a San Francisco vs Kansas City Super Bowl matchup. The MVP QB Mahomes & Old-School genius Andy Reid vs the great defense & new guru Shanahan Jr.

Guess what? Screw them, not gonna happen!

So often, the matchup everyone "expects" doesn't happen.
Everyone thought it was going to be Green Bay vs NE in 2011.
Everyone thought it was going to be 15-1 Minnesota vs Super Bowl champion Denver in the 1998 season.
Many times we thought it would be Buffalo vs San Francisco from 1990-1995.
Many other examples, but so many times someone else knocks one of the favorites off in their ballpark.

If the Packers just stay close, even get a lead, early..... 1st quarter ends, halftime, 3rd quarter still close or we're ahead, THAT is our favor. That is when they, and their fans, will feel that pressure.

We need to start well, need the zebra's 1st few bad calls to not all go against us. If they call us for offensive holding, they better call one on them against Za'Darius or Preston or KC next time.
We need the lucky bounces to go our way early, not their way like last time.

If we deflect a pass on defense, one of our guys needs to get it, not let it hit the green grass.

Packers 20
49ers 17

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
superbowllives's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:12 pm

keep going........

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
davidrawence's picture

January 19, 2020 at 02:43 pm

Click Here To Watch NFL Live FREE : http://live-onlinetv247.com/nfl-live/

Click Here To Watch NFL Live FREE : http://live-onlinetv247.com/nfl-live/

Click Here To Watch NFL Live FREE : http://live-onlinetv247.com/nfl-live/

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Cheddarblock's picture

January 19, 2020 at 03:43 pm

I said prayers for the Pack today. Being in the San Franfreako Bay area, the arrogance is thick with 49er base. Let their underestimating be their defeat. Go Pack Go!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bure9620's picture

January 19, 2020 at 04:19 pm

Vitale and Raven Greene inactive

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 19, 2020 at 06:54 pm

Absolutely embarrassing performance by this team

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 19, 2020 at 06:59 pm

Its time to draft a QB than can and will run the ball when needed AR proved again he is not interested in doing that. ML did nit have this team ready to play. I don’t think he is the answer. I don’t give a damn about overachieving and any of that nonsense. This team is an embarrassment.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Amen fire every one and start over

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Amen fire every one and start over

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Amen fire every one and start over

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Amen fire every one and start over

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Amen fire every one and start over

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:17 pm

Amen fire every one and start over

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CHESSEHEaADDALLAS's picture

January 19, 2020 at 07:13 pm

Time to get back on the bus and stay this team should not even be on the field

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.