The Atlanta Falcons host the Green Bay Packers in Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game with the winner headed to the NFC championship. So who's going to win? If I knew that I'd be sitting on the beach in St. Barts instead of writing this column but I can give you a few things to look for that could signal when a Falcons win is near.
The Falcons will definitely win if:
- As a team, they rush more than 25 times for more than 80 yards. The Falcons are 12-0 when their ground game gets going and are 1-3 when they rush for 75 yards or less.
- They gain 300 yards of total offense. They are 10-0 this year when they do so.
- They score more than 20 points. Atlanta is a perfect 12-0 when posting 20+ points and 1-3 when their offense struggles.
- They hold the Packers to under 350 yards of total offense. The Falcons are 10-0 this year when their defense gets stout.
The Falcons have a great chance to win if:
- They score a rushing touchdown. They are 9-0 when someone scores a touchdown on the ground.
- They are leading at the end of any quarter (especially the fourth!). The Falcons are 9-0 when leading after the first, 9-0 when leading at halftime and 8-0 when leading after three quarters of play. When the clock strikes zero at any point in the game and the Falcons are leading, that's a W.
- The Falcons pass rush can disrupt Aaron Rodgers. Atlanta is 8-1 when they get at least two sacks and that one loss was in overtime in Pittsburgh.
The Falcons might win if:
- They hold the Packers to less than 14 points. The Falcons are 5-0 when their defense can hold their opponents under 14.
- They throw for more than 250 yards. Atlanta is 5-0 when they roll up 250 yards of passing offense.
- They throw for three passing touchdowns. The Falcons have not lost a game this season (3-0) in which they've thrown for three touchdowns.
There you have it. Keep an eye on these various milestones and you may know who will win the game before the final buzzer sounds.