Packers vs. Falcons: Tale of the tape ahead of NFC Championship
Injuries have been a theme in both secondaries. Green Bay suffered more in terms of quantity, but Atlanta can make an argument they’ve had it worse, losing star corner Desmond Trufant midway through the season.
The Packers haven’t been the same without Sam Shields, relying on second-year corners Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins to pick up the slack. Both young guns have been plagued with injuries throughout the year, neither living up to their rookie potential.
In Trufant’s absence, the Falcons lean on veteran Robert Alford to pair with second-year Jalen Collins. The latter has come a long way following a disappointing rookie campaign and has been key in Atlanta’s improved defensive showings of late.
Micah Hyde dominated in Dallas last week (four tackles, a sack and interception), and he continues to wear a number of caps. LaDarius Gunter is the best corner on the team and will be facing off with Julio Jones as he did in Week 8, but he’s not without his own limitations. Gunter wins with physicality but lacks the speed to make up ground.
Where the Packers truly win is with their safeties, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. Burnett is questionable to suit up Sunday, and he’ll be missed if unable to go. Atlanta has an emerging playmaker at safety, too, young Keanu Neal making an impact in Dan Quinn’s defensive backfield. The heavy-hitting Neal defended eight passes and had five forced fumbles in the regular season.
Neither secondary should be feared, but the edge goes to the home team. Green Bay’s cornerbacks continue to surrender too many big plays.