Since the postseason began, the Green Bay Packers have been the Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL: They haven’t been getting any respect.
The Packers weren’t supposed to beat the New York Giants. And they did.
They weren’t supposed to beat the Dallas Cowboys. And they did.
And today they aren’t supposed to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. And they will.
The Vegas oddsmakers have installed the Packers as 6-point ’dogs and it’s easy to see why: The Packers have an enigmatic defense and are especially vulnerable at the corners; they are playing on their rival’s home turf and, of course, the Falcons are damn good.
On the flip side, though, there are equally as many reasons the Packers will win today and advance to the Super Bowl: They have the game’s crème de la crème of quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, who has been insanely brilliant for almost two months now; their confidence is sky high from being on an eight-game winning streak and their defense is slowly but surely melding into a competent unit.
And, here’s another reason why the Packers will be a tough out: They now have a tight end, a certifiably good tight end in Jared Cook. He wasn’t available the last time the Packers and Falcons met back on Oct. 8 when the Falcons escaped with a 33-32 triumph at Atlanta.
But Cook wasn’t the only Packers tight end who was a no-show in that encounter. Of the Packers’ 28 pass receptions in that game, not one – repeat, not one – was caught by a tight end. Look for that to change in a big way today with Mr. Cook healthy and ready to go.
And look for the Packers to gain some measure of revenge as well.
Prediction: Packers 31, Falcons 20.