Scouting the Packers’ potential NFC playoffs matchups01/01/2021 • By Ed Wood
The Packers have punched their way into the playoffs and will likely be a top-two seed depending how the rest of their season plays out. Green Bay is behind only Kansas City in the NFL betting futures.
But we’re not counting our chickens before they hatch. Green Bay has plenty of football left to play and the deadly NFC is as unpredictable as winter storms in Wisconsin.
We do a bit of future scouting and size up all the NFC contenders Green Bay may have to go through. Expect plenty of turbulence for the Packers on their flight to Tampa.
The Packers could face any of these teams in the NFC Playoffs
Three weeks is a lot for time for seeding to change. But most of the teams on here are pretty much clinched for the playoffs and could face Green Bay at some point.
We do a quick preview on how each team looks and how Green Bay matches up with them.
New Orleans Saints
If everything goes according to seeding, the Packers will likely face the Saints in the conference finals. They hold a win over them back in Week 3 in what turned out to be a back-and-forth affair.
The Saints have been playing well since starting the season 1-2 and Drew Brees has returned from injury. They have a top-five defense and are dangerous on every aspect of the offense or special teams.
But New Orleans tends to have some bad juju happen to them every playoffs. They may not even make it to the conference finals. But on paper, they are Green Bay’s toughest opponent.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams or Seahawks could wind up in the 5th playoff spot and face Green Bay in the divisional finals if the top seeds advance. This squad has the stingiest defense in the NFC and will give Rodgers and crew hell.
Aaron Donald continues to be a wrecking ball and has opened things up for the rest of the star-studded unit. Their offense shouldn’t be underestimated either despite its modest numbers.
Jared Goff is a grizzled vet at this point in his career and may not be the superstar he was envisioned to be, but his win-loss record speaks for itself. Green Bay will need to be up to the task of shutting him and the offense down as scoring could be scarce in this match-up.
The high-flying Seahawks have one of the most prolific passing offenses but one of the worst passing defenses. Led by Russell Wilson, who is just trailing Aaron Rodgers and Pat Mahomes in the MVP race, the Seahawks can score fast and they can score a lot.
Still, it’d be hard for them to last in the playoffs if they keep letting opponents throw on them. Should they meet the Packers, it could turn out to be a shootout. The difference here could lie in the running game.
Seattle might do damage against a Packer defense that allows 4.6 yards a carry. They will need to tighten up here or Seattle could “run away” with the game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Packers fans may still have nightmares about the Week 6 shellacking Ronald Jones II and the Bucs unleashed on them. That was Rodgers’s worst game of the season, but the silver lining is that Tom Brady wasn’t so hot himself.
The Buccaneers make headlines because of their Pro Bowl roster of an offense, but it’s their rushing defense that has anchored them. Tampa has allowed the fewest rushing yards and yards per carry (3.5).
Green Bay’s line will have to find a way to open up the running game for Aaron Jones and co. or it could be another long night for Rodgers and the passing lineup.
The Vikings are not entirely dead yet. They have a decent chance of snagging one of the last wild card spots even with an 8-8 record. They could face Green Bay in the divisional round.
Green Bay and Minnesota split the season series 1-1 despite Rodgers playing well in both games. They are susceptible to the passing game, but they have allowed some of the fewest rushing scores.
Dalvin Cook was a nightmare for the Packers’ defense in their second outing going for 163 yards and a hat trick. Impeding him early will allow Green Bay to dictate the game’s pace and force Minnesota to beat them by throwing.
This is a tricky matchup and something fans will be rightfully nervous about.
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