Breaking Down How Green Bay Matches Up Against Every Potential Playoff Opponent
The Green Bay Packers needed a miracle win in Week 17 to even get into the NFL playoffs. However, now that they are in, anything could happen—the ultimate goal being to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The first opponent who the Packers will play are the 49ers. Since they aren't a "potential" opponent, we will not break down how Green Bay matches up against them. Instead we'll look at how San Francisco matches up against the other four teams in the NFC playoffs. We will also briefly look at how the Packers stack up against every team on the AFC side of the postseason.
To do so, we will look at how Green Bay's offense and defense match up against each potential opponent. We will also give a brief prediction for each game.
Here then is how the Packers compare against every potential playoff opponent this postseason.
New Orleans Saints
How They Could Meet
The only way the Green Bay Packers could meet the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs would be in the NFC Championship Game.
Packers Offense vs. Saints Defense
The Saints had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2012. Then they went out and hired Rob Ryan. Now, New Orleans' defense is ranked No. 15 overall in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
If there is an area of this potential matchup that the Packers could exploit, it'd be with their offense. Green Bay simply has too many weapons for the Saints secondary to handle. That becomes even more the case with wide receiver Randall Cobb getting healthier by the day.
Even if New Orleans is somehow capable of slowing down Green Bay's passing game, the Packers can give the ball to running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks and let them run wild. Simply put, the Packers offense has a big advantage over the Saints defense no matter how they'd attack them.
Packers Defense vs. Saints Offense
Just imagining the Saints offense against the porous defense of Green Bay is scary.
The Packers defense has been awful all year long. In this matchup, Green Bay would have the hardest time in trying to slow down tight end Jimmy Graham. There isn't a defensive player on the Packers' roster who has the size or athleticism to stop a weapon like Graham.
There aren't many offenses that would be more frightening to play if you're Green Bay than that of the Saints.
With both teams fielding high-powered offenses, there is little doubt that this game would turn into a shootout. The winner would ultimately be determined by whichever team was able to come up with more defensive stops.
Considering that the Packers defense hasn't been able to stop anyone this season, a shootout would favor the Saints. Look for these two teams to combine for well over 60 points if they play and for the Saints offense to be too much for the defense of Green Bay to handle.
How They Could Meet
If the Packers are going to meet the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs, it would need to take place in the NFC Championship Game.
Packers Offense vs. Eagles Defense
The Eagles don't get enough respect for what they do on the defensive side of the ball, especially against the run. In fact, they have the fifth-best run defense in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
That means the Packers would need quarterback Aaron Rodgers to have a stunning game in this matchup for the offense to have any success. The player who would ultimately have to play a big role for Green Bay would be wide receiver Randall Cobb. His quickness and ability in the open field could cause the Eagles defense some issues.
Even if the Packers are unable to get things going on the ground, look for them to still put points on the board, thanks to Rodgers and his group of talented receivers.
Packers Defense vs. Eagles Offense
This is another frightening matchup for the Packers. The speed of Chip Kelly's offense gives the Eagles a huge advantage here.
The biggest concern for the Packers defense would have to be running back LeSean McCoy. With Green Bay fielding the fourth-worst run defense in the league according to Pro Football Focus, it's hard to see them slowing down one of the premier dual-threat running backs in the league.
Even if the Packers do figure out how to stop McCoy, they'd still have to deal with Nick Foles and a potent passing attack. Whichever way you slice it, the Packers defense just doesn't stand a chance against the Eagles offense.
These two teams played back in Week 10, with the Eagles winning, 27-13. However, the Packers were without Rodgers in that matchup.
While the Packers would certainly get more offensive production in this game, it's their defense that would ultimately let them down. Philadelphia would simply put too many points on the board for the Packers to keep pace.
How They Could Meet
There are two ways that the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers could meet in the playoffs. They could either meet in the divisional round if the New Orleans Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. The other scenario is that if the Eagles beat the Saints, the Packers would have to make it to the NFC Championship Game in order to potentially play Carolina.
Packers Offense vs. Panthers Defense
The Panthers defense has been diabolically good this season. In fact, the Packers offense hasn't seen a defense as disciplined or as talented as the one Carolina puts on the field.
What makes the Panthers defense so good is that it can stop both the run and the pass and also has the ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That versatility could ultimately spell trouble for the Packers offense.
The good news for the Packers is that they have one of the most balanced offenses in the league, so if the Panthers take away their ground game, the Packers can turn to their potent passing attack to put points on the board.
This would be one of the best potential matchups in the league, pitting a great offense against a great defense.
Packers Defense vs. Panthers Offense
While the Panthers offense hasn't been especially dominant, it has really come into its own the past few weeks. That has been mostly due to the development of quarterback Cam Newton.
However, as good as Newton has been, he's also had his struggles. His inexperience in the playoffs could also be a factor as to how well he would play against the Packers defense.
Where Newton could really hurt the Packers is with his legs. If he can keep drives alive without having to throw the ball, the Packers defense could really be in trouble.
This would actually be a great game to watch.
The winner would ultimately come down to whether the Packers defense or Panthers offense plays better. Considering the struggles that the Packers defense have had this year, it's hard to trust it doing anything positive in the playoffs.
That means Carolina would win.
How They Could Meet
The Packers could either play the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round or in the NFC Championship Game. If the Saints beat the Eagles, the Packers could only play Seattle in the NFC Championship Game, but if Philadelphia knocks off New Orleans, Green Bay would travel to Seattle in the next round.
Packers Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
Boy, would this be a fantastic matchup. No defense is as good as the one that the Seahawks put on the field.
Seattle has the talent in its secondary to slow down Green Bay's passing attack. The pressure that the Seahawks can create would be a handful for the Packers offensive line.
That means the Packers would have to rely on running back Eddie Lacy to have a big game, and it's hard to see him doing that against Pro Football Focus' fourth-ranked run defense (subscription required).
It's hard to envision the Packers putting many points on the board against this Seahawks team.
Packers Defense vs. Seahawks Offense
Let's just get this out of the way: The Packers defense stands no chance against the Seahawks offense.
This isn't just because of the talent of running back Marshawn Lynch. What makes Seattle such a dangerous team offensively is that it has a quarterback in Russell Wilson who can not only make big plays, but who also rarely makes mistakes.
Even if the Packers could somehow figure out how to slow down Seattle's ground game, they don't have nearly the talent to deal with Wilson.
Good defensive teams usually don't have great offenses. However, that isn't the case with Seattle.
Not only can the Seahawks keep opponents from scoring, but they also have the ability to put points on the board. The combination of Wilson and Lynch would simply be too much for the Packers defense, as the Seahawks would come away with an easy win.
How They Could Meet
The Super Bowl
The Broncos would have absolutely no trouble scoring 60 points against the Packers. That's how good Denver's offense is and how poor the defense is for Green Bay.
While the Packers have the ability to put points on the board, their offense isn't nearly efficient enough to keep up with what Denver has done this season.
This would actually be a pretty even Super Bowl matchup.
While the Patriots have more talent on the defensive side of the ball, there have been games where they've been as bad as any defense in the league. If there is one thing that would be certain in this matchup, it'd be that this game would come down to the wire.
Few teams have been in more close games than the Patriots and Packers this season.
These two teams met earlier in the season, with the Bengals coming out on top. However, it was a close game and the Packers were without running back Eddie Lacy.
With Lacy on the field, the Packers have the offensive firepower to have the advantage over the Bengals defense. The big key for Green Bay would be in stopping wide receiver A.J. Green. If the Packers could slow him down again, they'd have a good shot at winning.
How great would it be to see quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck go head to head in the Super Bowl? Both quarterbacks are so similar in their overall skill set that it'd be exciting to watch them play each other in the most important game of the year.
The reason why the Packers would ultimately have the edge in this matchup is because of the talent surrounding Rodgers. The Colts don't have the weapons that Green Bay has on either side of the ball to pull out a victory in this potential showdown.
The Chiefs would have two huge advantages over Green Bay in their potential matchup.
Secondly, the Chiefs defense is talented and knows how to make plays. The secondary would take away the passing attack of the Packers, which would ultimately turn into a victory for Kansas City.
While it's hard to even imagine the Chargers making it to the Super Bowl, the same could be said about the Packers.
If these two teams do meet, the advantage would have to go to the Packers because neither team has a great defense and Rodgers is a much better quarterback than Philip Rivers.