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Best Playoff Matchups for Green Bay Packers

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Jeff Hanisch – USA Today Sports

Week 17 is going to be a fun one for the NFC. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will duke it out for the NFC East crown, while the loser of the game will be fighting for the last Wild Card spot, along with the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and the New York Giants.

At stake for the Green Bay Packers is a chance at the number two seed and a first-round bye. More importantly, this week will decide whom the Packers will match up against in the playoffs.

The Packers would feel confident going against the Bears, having already handled them twice this season. I almost hope the Bears make it into the playoffs just so the Packers can knock them out!

If the Packers should lose to Minnesota this Sunday, the Vikings would make the playoffs and would meet with Green Bay yet again the following week in the Wild Card round. Despite the Vikings having the bionic Adrian Peterson, whom the Packers allowed to run all over them, they simply can’t go anywhere with Christian Ponder at quarterback at this point. Either of these NFC North teams would be a great matchup for the Packers.

The Atlanta Falcons are league best 13-2 yet they get no respect. They won’t get any here, either. The Packers would have to travel to the Georgia Dome if they were to meet Atlanta later in the playoffs, which would be fine by them. The Packers’ style of offense benefits immensely from playing in the dome, and no one will be forgetting Aaron Rodgers’ 2010 performance against Atlanta anytime soon. In the game Rodgers went 31/36 for 366 yards, three passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and a 136.8 passer rating. It was a game in which Green Bay did not even punt once.

As Sunday Night Football commenter Rodney Harrison said, no one is afraid of Atlanta. I know it’s totally unfair to the Falcons, but their poor performances in the playoffs in the last couple of years hang over them.

It’s hard to rate how the Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins would match up against the Packers. The two teams are completely different than when the Packers last played them (Dallas in November 2010, Washington in October 2010).

As a Packer fan, I would love to go against any Tony Romo-quarterbacked team in the playoffs. They’re one game above .500 and have not had any impressive wins since Week 1, when they beat the Giants. Romo and Dez Bryant have been coming on strong, but their defense has a lot of holes and I just don’t trust Romo in big-time situations.

Washington is a different story. Whereas Dallas has just managed to hang around, the Redskins are riding a six-game winning streak which includes victories over the Giants, Cowboys, and the Baltimore Ravens. The Redskins are tough on the ground, leading the league in rushing yards per game behind a couple of rookies in running back Alfred Morris and the electrifying Robert Griffin III. Rodgers and the Packers would have a field day against their 30th-ranked pass defense, and it’d be fun to see what defensive coordinator Dom Capers would throw at RGIII. Washington would probably be my least favorite of the “good matchups” for Green Bay because of their run game and Griffin’s playmaking ability.

Any of these five teams would be good matchups for Green Bay. We’ll just have to watch closely on Sunday and wait for the standings to shake out.

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