Aaron Rodgers has shown that the playoffs don't scare him. Rodgers has put together the best stats ever for a quarterback's first two playoff starts.
After last year's Wild Card loss to the Arizona Cardinals and Sunday's win over the Eagles, Rodgers has completed 46 of 69 passes for 623 yards, seven touchdowns and a passer rating of 122.0 (the highest passer rating ever for a quarterback over his first two starts).
To go along with his historic passing attack, Rodgers has also been able to contribute on the ground. During the regular season, Rodgers was the third leading rusher out of the quarterback position gaining 356 yards and four touchdowns. In the playoffs, he has been able to add a touchdown on the ground as well (Arizona game).
The Packers have struggled to find a running game all season after Ryan Grant went down for the year in Week 1.
They may have just found their answer in rookie running back James Starks. Starks, a sixth-round draft pick this season, spent most of the season hurt and was still a question mark on whether he would suit up for the playoffs.
Very few people thought the Packers would rely so heavily on Starks in the game against the Eagles, but Mike McCarthy rode the hot hand all the way to victory Sunday.
The Packers running game was among the worst in the NFL all season. They averaged a meager 100.4 yards per game, good for 24th in the league.
When the Packers played the Falcons in Week 12 to a 20-17 loss, the Packers only rushed for 77 yards. The number is a little skewed when you look at who got the yards, though, with Aaron Rodgers accounting for 51 of those yards. The running backs that day combined for 11 carries and 26 yards.
In contrast, James Starks ran for 123 yards on 23 carries.
Should the Packers continue their success on the ground, they become a much more balanced attack that can beat any team they come across.
Clay Matthews, in his second NFL season, has established himself as the premier pass rusher in the league.
One of the favorites for defensive MVP, Matthews has been terrorizing quarterbacks all season to the tune of 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
In the game versus the Eagles, defensive coordinator Dom Capers was mixing up the blitz packages, dropping Matthews into coverage often. When Capers unleashed the beast, Matthews was dominating. In the nine plays that Matthews blitzed, Vick completed only one pass and was sacked twice (once by Matthews).
Matthews was held sackless in the first meeting with the NFC favorites. Look for him to remedy that this week.
The Packers will look to show Matt Ryan as many blitz looks as they can to confuse Matty Ice. Matthews will most likely be a factor come Saturday.