This archived article was written by: Shaun Peterson
We’re down to the Final Four in the NFL and Sunday’s games should be intriguing and could come down to the wire. In the NFC Championship, the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers and in the AFC Championship the New England Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts. It’s anybody guess to which two teams will make it to Super Bowl, but let’s take a look at both match ups and each teams strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s start with the NFC Championship and the visiting Green Bay Packers. It’s all about offense with these guys, they rank first in the NFL in points per game, sixth in total yards and sixth in pass yards with 266 per game.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has had an MVP season with 4,381 pass yards, 38 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Rodgers has to have a big game in order for the Packers to win in such a hostile environment.
The Packers also have two dynamic playmakers at the wide receiver position with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, who both recorded over 1,200 yards receiving and double digit touchdowns. They’ll need to make big plays against Seattle’s secondary which many consider to be the best in the NFL.
The Packers really only have one weakness and it’s how they defend the run. They ranked 23rd in the league during the regular season, giving up almost 120 yards a game. With Seattle having such a powerful run game, this is something the Packers will have to try and slow down if they want to move on to the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks are the defending Super Bowl Champions and are the complete opposite of the Packers as they are all about defense. They rank in the top three in all the major defensive categories and have the capability of shutting down any of the top offenses.
Another major strength for the Seahawks is their offensive run game. They average 172 yards a game and have one of the most powerful running backs in football. Marshawn Lynch ran for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns, against a middle of the road Packer’s run defense. Lynch should have plenty of room to make big plays.
Seattle has one glaring weakness in the passing game. They averaged 203 yards during the regular season which is good for 27th in the league, they also don’t have a receiver who recorded more than 1,000 yards receiving. Russell Wilson has played good as of late so it will be interesting to see if their receivers can make plays in order to keep up with the Packer’s high powered offense.
The AFC championship features two-high- powered-passing offenses and the visiting Colts are coming off a huge road win against the Denver Broncos. Indianapolis’s young quarterback, Andrew Luck, had a fantastic season, throwing 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns. Luck has to take care of the ball and not turn it over for the Colts to have a chance. The Colts also have a great speed receiver in T.Y. Hilton who had 82 receptions, 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. They need to get him involved to have any success on offense.
One weakness for the Colts is their run game with only one back recording over 500 yards rushing, they will need to find a way to get some production out of their run game to become more dynamic on offense. Another weakness is their defense. They have been in the middle of the pack all season and in their last three games against the Patriots, they failed to give up less than 40 points. They will have to play their best game of the season to try and slow the Patriots down.
The Patriots are also centered on a high- powered- passing offense and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. Brady threw for 4,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He has already won three Super Bowl titles and knows that he might not have many chances left to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. He knows how to get it done.
Arguably the best player at the tight end position Rob Gronkowski has recorded 82 receptions, 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is Brady’s favorite target and needs to have a big game. The Patriot’s pass game is one of the best in the NFL and is hard for any team to stop.
Under Coach Bill Belichick, the Patriot’s defense has always found a way to create turnovers and capitalize on those plays and they have excelled in that again this year with 25 takeaways. They need to continue that on Sunday to get back to the Super Bowl.
Just like the Colts, the Patriots run game has not been too affective this season, only averaging 107 yards per game. New England uses multiple running backs to try and find a way to get the ground game going, they will need one of their running backs to step up and be a threat to make the Patriots more versatile in this matchup.
With some of the greatest players in the NFL playing in this weekend’s games, fans should be provided with exciting football and entertainment that they deserve.