Morning Buzz: Packers' eyes on the prize
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com. Grab a strong cup of coffee and get caught up on everything you need to know about the Packers.
We’ll start with Pete Dougherty’s latest column, which strips away the bells and whistles and gets down to the nitty gritty, namely, the Packers don’t have much of a chance in this game if Dom Capers’ defense can’t find a way to get one or two stops against the Falcons' potent offensive attack.
Can coordinator Dom Capers’ undermanned defense get a stop or two against the explosive Atlanta Falcons?
That’s very well what this game could come down to. The Falcons, after all, have the NFL’s top-scoring offense and likely MVP, Matt Ryan. And the Packers counter with the league’s best player over the last two months, Aaron Rodgers, racking up points for them.
Is there any reason to think this won’t be an epic scoring battle? Just look at Las Vegas’ over-under, which on Wednesday was up to 61½ points, highest ever for an NFL playoff game, according to Pro Football Reference. And 61½ actually seems a little light to me.
“It’s going to be like fastbreak basketball,” said an assistant coach in the league whose team recently played the Falcons.
So if the yards and points keep piling up possession after possession Sunday in the Georgia Dome, this game could come down to somebody making just one or two stops, or forcing a couple of field goals instead of giving up touchdowns. That could be the difference between going to Houston for the Super Bowl and going home for a long offseason.
Tom Silverstein has the latest on Jordy Nelson, who was a limited participant in yesterday’s practice.
Julius Peppers isn’t focused on anything besides beating the Atlanta Falcons.
The performance of the Packers’ special teams unit could play a key role in the game Sunday. Michael Cohen writes on how they might be able to exploit Atlanta in the return game.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense are thriving when the quarterback gets outside the pocket, something that wasn’t really happening earlier in the season. Ryan Wood investigates what has changed and why it’s working so well.
I chatted with readers over on Facebook Live on Wednesday afternoon:
Michael and Ryan have all the latest from Lambeau on the plethora of injuries on both sides of the ball:
Elsewhere, Rodgers sat down with ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill and spoke about his “run the table” comment, saying “I knew what I was doing.”
Brian Jones of CBS Sports has his “Keys to the Game” for Packers-Falcons.
Getting an early lead is also big for the Packers. In last week's game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Packers jumped to a 21-3 lead, which was a big reason why they came away with the win. But then again, the Packers got off to a slow start against the New York Giants and ended up winning 38-13.
The biggest thing is the Packers can't afford to get off to a slow start. The Falcons average 35 points per game at home and they have scored on their opening drive in the last seven games. So it's clear the Packers can't afford to wait to get things going until the fourth quarter.
T.J. Lang met with the media Wednesday in advance of the NFC championship:
Sunday’s game has at least one historic aspect to it:
How did Rodgers hold on to the ball when he was blindsided by that Cowboys safety? Rob Demovsky writes on size mattering.
There’s a noticeable imbalance in the initial injury report for Sunday’s game: