Don’t write the Packers into the Super Bowl just yet. Just as Green Bay has in the end shown a few chinks in its armor in December, its number one challengers for NFC supremacy are having a look an increasing number of formidable.
New Orleans has been the best crew within the league of late, with a seven-game win streak that comes with victories over playoff groups in the Falcons (twice) and the Lions as well as a 25-point blowout of the Giants. Drew Brees, who broke Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record with one sport to spare, has his offense operating with head-turning efficiency. The streaking Saints have averaged 498 yards in their ultimate 5 games.
The Packers’ other main NFC roadblock excels on the different side of the ball.
The 49ers, who confirmed their playoff chops with a 20-3 pounding of Pittsburgh two weeks ago, the Steelers’ lowest scoring output in additional than 4 years, boast a punishing protection the likes of which Aaron Rodgers & Co. have not seen this year. San Francisco allows 13.5 issues per game, the best mark of any crew within the final 5 years, and leads the league in turnover margin at +26, four better than Green Bay.
Meanwhile, the Packers have proven within the ultimate month that they may not be the slam-dunk Super Bowl group that their white-hot get started indicated.
First, the Giants gave the protecting champs all they could handle, succumbing simplest after Rodgers’ final-minute heroics lifted the Packers to a 38-35 triumph. Then two weeks later, Green Bay suffered a stunning stumble at then-5-8 Kansas City, losing 19-14 to undergo its first blemish.
Even the reputedly invincible Rodgers came again to earth a bit, registering his season low in passer rating and of entirety share in 3 instantly video games sooner than responding with a five-touchdown gem in opposition to Chicago.
The Packers’ invincible air of secrecy is indisputably gone.
The New York recreation confirmed Green Bay might be vulnerable in a shootout — just the kind of affair it will most probably have if it meets New Orleans in the NFC Championship game. Yes, the Packers prevailed 42-34 at Lambeau within the teams’ season-opening matchup. But the Saints’ flexible speeding assault and Brees’ pyrotechnics in the passing sport mean New Orleans (12-3) is uniquely positioned to grapple with Green Bay in a high-scoring affair.
Then the Kansas City protection did what seemed impossible, dictating pace and magnificence to the NFL’s top-scoring offense, albeit a shorthanded Packer unit. The Chiefs’ harassment of Rodgers in a four-sack appearing now stands as the blueprint for teams that would like forcing Green Bay into a grind-it-out, ball-control recreation — differently known as the San Francisco special.
The 12-3 49ers have mastered the artwork of dismantling opponents’ offensive flow. Teams have all however given up seeking to run on San Francisco’s stone wall of a entrance seven — the runaway league leader in run safety became the first workforce in NFL history not to permit a dashing touchdown thru 14 video games earlier than Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch in spite of everything broke via for a rating ultimate week. Forcing fighters right into a one-dimensional recreation plan allows an opportunistic secondary and disciplined move rush to wreak havoc.
A potential Green Bay-San Francisco showdown within the NFC Championship would be the such a lot expected playoff matchup of the year. The easiest offense (the Packers reasonable 34.3 points) in opposition to a historically stout defense. Rodgers, who’s threatening to break Peyton Manning’s single-season passer rating mark, facing a 49er safeguard that has amassed 36 takeaways, together with no less than 3 in 8 games.
While it is easy to foresee a Packers-Saints matchup as every other pinball-like sport during which issues pile up at a dizzying rate, it’s a thriller how Green Bay could honest in opposition to San Francisco. The Packers haven’t confronted a single crew ranked in the best 14 in scoring defense.
At this juncture, it appears that Green Bay might have its palms complete against both the Saints or the 49ers. But the saving grace for the protecting champs is that they would simplest have to face one of those challengers — in an NFC Championship matchup at Lambeau.
That the 14-1 Packers have positioned themselves to have an more uncomplicated divisional spherical game is why they nonetheless must be regarded as the favorite to succeed in the Super Bowl. But make no mistake, what in advance appeared a Green Bay stranglehold on NFC preeminence has loosened considerably. Purchase Tickets For Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, IN at the Lucas Oil Stadium at a discount for providing the promo code TFS at checkout on TicketsForSuperBowl.com