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Green Bay Packers (11-6)
Opponent Final 2010 Defensive Ranks
Atlanta Pass Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game 22nd (227 Yds/Gm)—TDs Allowed T-13th (23)
Atlanta Rush Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game 180h (105.9 Yds/Gm)—TDs Allowed T-8th (9)
Green Bay Offensive Cast
Aaron Rodgers (QB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 1)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 312/475 for 3,922 yards, 28 TDs and 11 INTs || 64 carries for 356 yards & four TDs.
Last week in Philadelphia, Aaron “it out” showed his playoff mettle by throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 21-16 victory over mighty Mike Vick and the Eagles.
He’ll be going on the road yet again this week, and this time it will be against a team he threw for 344 yards and a TD against earlier in the year while also rushing for another 51 yards and a score. With rookie RB James Starks suddenly coming into his own, Rodgers should feel less pressure than ever before and has a chance at a 300-yard, multi-TD game come Saturday.
James Starks (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 5)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 29 carries for 101 yards and no TDs || Two receptions for 15 yards & no TDs.
I was sure there was no way in hell the Packers would utilize a rookie running back the way they did last weekend, but holy crap was I wrong. Starks definitely has the tools necessary to do what he did to a middling Eagles defense, but who knew he’d be able to withstand the playoff pressure after garnering just 29 carries the entire season?
Well, he’ll have a chance to prove he’s for real this weekend as the Falcons D isn’t much better than Philly’s, so look for Starks to get another 15-plus carries in this one and maybe even 20 or more.
John Kuhn (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 11)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 84 carries for 281 yards and four TDs || 15 receptions for 97 yards and two TDs.
Kuhn’s worth comes mostly along the goal line as the Packers can use either his 6’0” 250-pound frame to bust in the one-yard TDs or his receiving ability to catch play-action passes in the flat. Other than that, though, don’t expect much.
Brandon Jackson (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 13)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 190 carries for 703 yards and three TDs || 43 receptions for 342 yards and one TD.
Once again, Brandon has been passed on the depth chart by a bigger, more talented back, and this time, I think it’s for good. Jackson will still get a few carries and dump-offs on third down, but his chances of putting up fantasy-worthy stats aren’t too good.
Greg Jennings (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 1)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 76 receptions for 1,265 yards and 12 TDs.
Greg had a ton of trouble breaking free from Asante Samuel last weekend and ended up with just one catch on five targets for eight yards because of it. However, the Falcons don’t have anyone close to that caliber for him to deal with on Saturday, which means Jennings could have a field day under the dome and bust out 100-plus yards with a TD.
Donald Driver (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 11)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 51 receptions for 565 yards and four TDs.
Driver was used like the veteran he is last weekend, hauling in five catches for 56 yards with four of them good for first downs. Expect the same this Saturday with the Packers wanting to keep the ball out of Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White’s hands.
James Jones (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 7)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 50 receptions for 679 yards and five TDs.
Jones has a better chance to do some damage than Driver does, though you never quite know what you’re going to get from him on a week-to-week basis. The Pack will likely throw the ball more than they did last weekend, so Jones should be able to put up at least 50 yards with a possible TD against a very beatable Falcons secondary.
Jordy Nelson (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 16)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 45 receptions for 582 yards and two TDs.
It was Nelson who actually caught the lone TD pass from Rodgers in the Packers-Falcons first meeting as he ended up catching all five of his targets for 61 yards in the contest. He wasn’t a factor at all against the Eagles, but I can easily see the Pack getting him in there against Atlanta for a few three or four-WR sets.
Andrew Quarless (TE Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 8)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 21 receptions for 238 yards and one TD.
The Falcons allowed almost five catches a game to tight ends this year while letting them cross the goal line seven times during the course of the 2010 season. If the Packers used Quarless more, I’d say he has a chance of hitting those numbers, but they don’t, and he won’t.
Donald Lee (TE Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 11)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 11 receptions for 73 yards and three TDs.
Lee is a grizzled veteran who will certainly see his fair share of action this Sunday, but his skills are more as a pass blocker than a receiver.
Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Opponent Defensive Ranks
Green Bay Pass Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game 5th (194 Yds/Gm)—TDs Allowed 4th (16)
Green Bay Rush Defense—2010: Yards Allowed/Game 18th (114.9 Yds/Gm)—TDs Allowed 3rd (6)
Atlanta Offensive Cast
Matt Ryan (QB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 7)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 357/571 for 3,705 yards, 28 TDs and nine INTs.
Ryan quietly turned in a Top 10 fantasy season while leading the Falcons to the best record in the NFC at 13-3. His 28 TDs (career high) ranked sixth in the league (tied with Rodgers) while his four separate three-TD games doubled the amount he had in 2009.
What’s even better is that three of those four games came in the Falcons home dome (where he plays much better statistically). However, none of those games came against a pass D like Green Bay’s, and in their Week 12 meeting, Ryan was only able to scrounge out 198 yards and one TD. Temper your expectations for Matty Ice in this one.
Michael Turner (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 2)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 334 carries for 1,371 yards and 12 TDs || 12 receptions for 85 yards and no TDs
The Packers rush D is actually pretty good despite their ranking in yards allowed/game as they let up just six rushing TDs on the year. They held Philly’s two jitterbugs in check last week (Vick and McCoy), but Turner is a whole different story. In fact, I believe his legs alone weigh more than Vick and McCoy combined. That said, “The Centaur” had 110 yards with a TD in their meeting earlier this year, which looks to be pretty close to what he should be able to get again this Saturday.
Jason Snelling (RB Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 15)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 87 carries for 324 yards and two TDs || 44 receptions for 303 yards and three TDs.
Snelling turned in a nice season putting up over 600 total yards and five TDs as Turner’s backup, but the only way he’ll do anything worthwhile this weekend is if Turner goes down to injury early.
Roddy White (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 4)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 115 receptions for 1,389 yards and 10 TDs.
Roddy will be looking at a healthy dose of Charles Woodson come Saturday night, so I’m not expecting the world here. He took him for five catches and 49 yards in their first matchup, numbers that could repeat themselves this weekend, but you never really know what will happen when two of the game’s best face off against each other. Sparks will fly in this one.
Michael Jenkins (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 20)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 41 receptions for 505 yards and two TDs.
Jenkins had two TDs and no games with more than five catches this season. Against Green Bay, he put up just 24 yards on three catches (four targets). Basically, Jenkins is as average as it gets and is really more of a WR3 than a WR2. Three or four catches for around 35 yards sounds about right.
Harry Douglas (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 28)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 22 receptions for 294 yards and one TD.
Douglas has a ton of talent but sits behind Jenkins on the depth chart due to his inconsistency. If the Falcons get behind, they may use him for his big play potential, but other than that, he’s useless.
Brian Finneran (WR Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 26)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 19 receptions for 166 yards and three TDs.
Finneran’s 6’5” frame gets him a few red zone targets here and there, which actually gives him a bit of an edge over Douglas in the rankings department.
Tony Gonzalez (TE Playoff Week 2 Ranking: No. 2)
Final 2010 Season Stats: 70 receptions for 656 yards and six TDs.
Tony G had a beauty of a game against the Pack back in Week 12, catching all six of his targets for 51 yards and a touchdown. Green Bay is a bit weak against opposing tight ends, so watch for Gonzo to be involved heavily from the get-go as the Falcons will want to use his experience if they want to take out the streaking Packers this Saturday night.