The Lombardi Ave staff predict the NFC Championship Game.
Written off in August, predicted to be a one-and-done playoff team and named one of the worst No. 2 seeds ever. Yet here they are, preparing for the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Green Bay Packers might not have their offense from 2011 or their defense from 2010, but they are a well-balanced team that knows how to win. You don’t make it this far and win 14 of your 17 games, sweep your division and win a playoff game without talented players and being well-coached.
The Packers are set for a rematch with the 49ers. The Super Bowl awaits the winners. Will the Packers be heading to Miami?
Christian Borman: The Packers are just one game away from the Super Bowl, something no one expected them to do. Facing the 49ers, they will have a chance to beat a team that defeated them soundly in the regular season, a chance for revenge.
It reminds me of the 2010 season when the Packers lost to the Falcons in the regular season but got hot at the right time and defeated Atlanta in their own stadium en route to the Super Bowl. I’m not saying this team is as good as the 2010 Super Bowl team because they aren’t, but I could see the Packers making this game much closer than the game in Week 12.
While the Packers are rolling right now, winners of six straight games, the 49ers are also playing extremely well. I think this one is closer than most people think, but with Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander back, this defense gets that much tougher and the 49ers punch their ticket to Miami when it’s all said and done. San Francisco 27, Green Bay 23
Nile McNair: As underdogs, the Packers will use that as motivation to get off to a fast start in the NFC Championship. But as the game wears on the 49ers’ physicality will take over and eventually give them a lead over Green Bay late in the game.
However, with the ball in his hands for one final drive, Aaron Rodgers will display his greatness once again and save the Packers’ season with a touchdown drive, sending them to the Super Bowl. The fast start and the eventual heroics of Rodgers will lead Green Bay to victory. Green Bay 28, San Francisco 27
Evan Siegel: The Packers are coming off a pulsating win against the Seahawks in the divisional round. Aaron Rodgers looked like himself again, making several vintage throws that have separated him for 15 years. Unfortunately, Green Bay’s magical season is going to come to an end against the 49ers.
San Fransisco has the league’s most sophisticated running game, and multiple wide receivers who can separate against any defensive back. Robert Saleh’s defensive line is dominant, and while they may not overwhelm the Packers the way they did in the regular season, they will eventually get the better of the Packers line.
If the Packers defense can force a turnover or two, they will have a chance, but not a good enough one to pull through. It will not be 37-8 again, but the Packers simply aren’t physical enough to contend with the faster, stronger, and better-coached 49ers at home. San Francisco 27, Green Bay 17
Jesse Fry: Aaron Rodgers foreshadowed this moment before the last meeting saying he knows they are going to have to beat the 49ers to make it to the Super Bowl. At the time he used it as a message to say, beat them now and next time will be in Lambeau. That didn’t happen.
The Packers were thoroughly whooped in just about every phase. I don’t expect that to happen this time. Like many of the Packers games during this season, I expect this one to come down to the end. If the Packers can get a vintage Aaron Rodgers performance and the defense can shut down the run, I see no reason why they can’t win this one. But I feel, sadly, the Packers will end up on the short end, losing a one-score game. San Francisco 28, Green Bay 23
Freddie Boston: I can certainly understand why few analysts are picking the Pack this week. We all saw what happened in Week 12. And the 49ers are a very, very strong football team across the board.
But there’s something about this Packers team that has me believing they’ll pull off the upset when nobody else believes they will. Perhaps that makes me a homer, but that’s fine. Led by Matt LaFleur, this Packers team knows how to win close games. They’ve been finding a way all season long.
Make no mistake. They were humiliated in the first meeting at Levi’s Stadium, but that may be the best thing that could’ve happened to them. It showed them just how talented this 49ers team is and what to expect. They now have the benefit of a rematch and the opportunity to correct what went wrong.
Back in the 2014 season-opener, the Packers were outclassed by the Seattle Seahawks, allowing 207 rushing yards in a 36-16 defeat to the defending Super Bowl champs. They met again at the same venue in the NFC Championship Game. We know how that story ended, but for over 57 minutes, the Packers executed the perfect gameplan and had one foot on the plane to the Super Bowl. Had it not been for the most dramatic of collapses, they’d have won that game.
In 2015, the Packers were embarrassed 38-8 by the Arizona Cardinals. They met again in the divisional round. Despite being down their top three wide receivers, Green Bay forced overtime with the trio of James Jones, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. A 75-yard reception by Larry Fitzgerald set up Arizona’s game-winner, but the Packers had every chance to win that game after learning valuable lessons in the regular season.
I predict we’ll see a response by the Packers similar to those two games, except this time, they’ll find a way to win as they so often have this season. Green Bay 26, San Francisco 20