Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Red Hot Aaron Rodgers Melts Matty Ice

Adam WaldmanContributor IJanuary 16, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 (R) of the Green Bay Packers is congratulated by Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons after the Packers won 48-21 during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After soundly thrashing the New York Giants in the second-to-last game of the regular season, the Green Bay Packers still needed a victory over the Chicago Bears in the final week of the season to earn a playoff spot.

The Packers won the hard-fought battle with their division rivals by a score of 10-3, thereby clinching the No. 6 seed in the NFC. 

In theory, the road to the Super Bowl for the No. 6 seed is supposed to be the most difficult.

Last week, the Packers went into Philadelphia, kept Michael Vick in check, and walked away with a 21-16 victory which was sealed when Tramon Williams intercepted Vick’s attempt at a game-winning pass in the end zone.  The victory set the stage for a rematch in the Georgia Dome against the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons.

When the two teams met during the regular season, the Falcons escaped with a 20-17 victory as Matt Bryant kicked the game-winning field goal with nine seconds remaining.

Once again, Matt Ryan (“Matty Ice”) drove his team down the field for the win.  The home crowd in Atlanta has come to expect as much from their quarterback, who is a rising star in the NFL.

Unfortunately for “Matty Ice” and the rest of the Falcons, they had the misfortune of running into a buzzsaw last night in the Georgia Dome.  The Packers may be the No. 6 seed in the NFC, but they were the team that no one wanted to play in the playoffs for two reasons.

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The Packers defense is one of the best in the NFL, and anytime that your defense can neutralize opposing offenses, you have a chance to win the game.

But the main reason that the Packers are so dangerous is because of their own star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.  He may not have a “cool” nickname like “Matty Ice,” but he doesn’t need one. 

Rodgers and Tom Brady are by far the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL right now. 

They have both been carving up opposing defenses at will.  In the second half of the season, Rodgers has thrown 22 TDs and only 2 INTs, while Brady has thrown 22 TDs and no INTs.

The Packers will have to win another game on the road next weekend, either in Chicago or Seattle.  The Patriots need to win home games against the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it certainly looks like the two QBs are on a collision course to meet in Dallas on February 6, 2011 in Super Bowl XLV. 

Last night, Rodgers put on a quarterbacking clinic against the helpless Falcons who had no answer whatsoever for the Packer offense. 

Green Bay rookie kicker Tim Masthay will receive a game check for last night's game, but thanks to Rodgers and company, he never got the chance to earn it because the Packers never punted.

When it was all said and done, Rodgers had thrown for an incredible 366 yards and 3 TDs.  He completed 31 of his 36 passes, and threw in a rushing TD for good measure. 

Rodgers looked like an NFL QB playing against a Pop Warner team last night.  Even when the Falcons got to him, he seemed to miraculously spin out of trouble and complete long passes down the field at will.

Ryan, on the other hand, threw for a very pedestrian 186 yards.  He threw a touchdown when the game was all but decided, but his two interceptions help fuel the massacre that took place last night in the same Georgia Dome where Ryan is usually unbeatable.

Ultimately, last night’s game between the Packers and Falcons came down to basic physics.

Simply stated, “Matty Ice” melted when placed in close proximity to the red-hot Rodgers.  In retrospect, he never really stood a chance to succeed.

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