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NFC Championship Pick'em: A bridge too far for the Packers

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It's Championship Weekend in the NFL, four teams are left standing and only two can forward into the Superbowl though. Who will it be?

Let's preview the games and pick some winners starting with the NFC showdown in Seattle between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

How they shape up: Packers

The big question is just how fit Aaron Rodgers is. He isn't 100 per cent but so far he has been fit enough. Against the Cowboys he threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and Earl Thomas for one isn't taking claims of Rodgers' injury too seriously.

Outside of Rodgers the Packers are essentially all systems go. Running back Eddie Lacy is on the injury report with a sore knee but Mike McCarthy isn't too concerned.

How they shape up: Seahawks

Not much to say here. As usual Lynch as sat out practice for non-injury related reasons and was this time joined by Michael Bennett. The good news for the Seahawks is that center Max Unger and Tony Moeaki were both full participants in training.

How they win: Packers

When you look over how Seattle win games at the moment one things stands out above all other statistics, the sheer number of fourth quarter points they are raking up. Over the last three games Seattle have scored on average 17.3 points in the fourth quarter.

As that statistic shows in the fourth quarter teams just break against Seattle. It seems that the cumulative pressure of holding back Marshawn Lynch for three quarters just cannot be sustained down the home straight.

To win then, Green Bay need to get to the fourth quarter with enough gas left in the tank to hold back the blue tide. Key to doing this will be Eddie Lacy. At the very least Lacy needs to put together the level of performance he did against the Lions in week 17 and the Cowboys last week. Likely though he will need to even improve on that a bit. What he certainly can't do however is lay the sort of 34-yard 2.8 yards-per-carry egg he laid in week one.

The road to a Green Bay victory needs to be paved by Lacy and the Packers running game.

How they win: Seahawks

The formula for the Seattle win is fairly straight forward - dominate on defense and then run the ball on offense. Of course, when the offense you are facing is an Aaron Rodgers led offense this is easier said than done.

When they faced off in week one Rodgers very pointedly didn't throw a single ball to Richard Sherman's side of the field - effectively reducing the size of the pitch by half. It is hard to imagine Rodgers employing the same tactic again this time round.

With Sherman and Maxwell dividing up Cobb and Nelson between them this leaves wide receiver three Devonte Adams as the Packers ace in the hole. Numerous times this season the rookie Adams has come up big for Green Bay, not least last week against the Cowboys when he broke away to score a 46-yard touchdown.

To win then, the Seahawks need not just to shutdown Cobb and Nelson but also to ensure they have Rodgers' number three receiver covered as well.


These are two very different teams now than those that faced off in week one all the way back in October. There is one constant however, home advantage. Playing in front of your home fans is always a huge advantage when you're the Seahawks and when those fans are the loudest in the NFL that advantage is even bigger.

In the end Aaron Rodgers might make it close but the Seahawks will clinch it.

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Green Bay Packers
NFL Playoffs
Seattle Seahawks

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