Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Seattle at home, or the Georgia Dome?

After the "Fail Mary" in September, the Packers could play the Seahawks again in the playoffs.
After the "Fail Mary" in September, the Packers could play the Seahawks again in the playoffs.
After the “Fail Mary” in September, the Packers could play the Seahawks again in the playoffs.

After defeating the Minnesota Vikings last week, the Green Bay Packers are two wins away from Super Bowl XLVII.

If the Packers defeat the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, they’ll move on to the NFC Championship. Who and where they’d play would be determined Sunday afternoon when the Falcons and Seahawks square off in Atlanta.

If the No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons win, they’ll host the NFC Championship at the Georgia Dome. But if the Seahawks win, then the winner of Saturday’s Packers-49ers game will host the NFC Championship.

(Now would be a good time to mention that I fully expect this Saturday’s game against the 49ers to be a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire matchup that could go either way. The purpose of this post is not to overlook a good 49ers team, but rather, to look at (what could be) the next game on the Packers’ schedule.)

A rematch with Seattle would surely result in an amped-up Lambeau Field crowd, hungry for revenge after what happened on Sept. 24. But a rematch with Atlanta would mean the Packers, a team built for a fast track, would be playing indoors with a chance to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.

This begs the question…

Would you, as a fan, rather see the Packers host the Seahawks at Lambeau Field or have them play the Falcons in the Georgia Dome?

In the format of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, let’s look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half full” or “half empty.”

1) Seahawks at Packers. Lambeau Field.

Why it sounds good: It all comes full circle.

After the infamous “Fail Mary” play earlier this season, the Packers receive an opportunity for revenge against the Seattle Seahawks. It’s Pete Carroll, Golden Tate and Russell Wilson back on the other sideline, only this time, it’s in Green Bay with a trip to Super Bowl XLVII on the line.

The Seahawks are as hot as anyone in the league right now, but they’re still a team without much experience in the playoffs. Wilson has been sensational as a rookie, but the postseason can be a whole different animal for young quarterbacks. Then again, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has yet to win a playoff game, and he’s currently in his fifth NFL season.

Seattle’s defense is tough. If the Packers advance past San Francisco, they would have defeated what is likely one of the best defenses in football. But a week later against the Seahawks wouldn’t be any easier.

Why it could be bad: The Seahawks are flat-out good.

Including last week’s wild card win over the Washington Redskins, Seattle has won six straight games. That’s the second-longest winning streak in football behind Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos who have won 11 straight.

When cornerback Richard Sherman avoided a four-game suspension for Adderall use, the Seahawks became an even scarier postseason team. With Darrelle Revis out of for the season, Sherman was likely the best man-to-man cornerback in football throughout the 2012 season.

And against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wide receivers, teams need to have talented players on the outside. Sherman and Brandon Browner are probably the best pair of cornerbacks remaining in the playoffs. With such physical corners on the outside, a consistent pass rush can be fatal for Seattle’s opponents.

However, defensive end Chris Clemons, who led the team in sacks, suffered a torn ACL against the Falcons last week. Clemons will certainly be missed, but Seattle has another capable starter in first-round pick Bruce Irvin.

2) Packers at Falcons. Georgia Dome.

Why it sounds good: Packers at Falcons. In the playoffs. Sounds great.

The last time the Packers went to the Georgia Dome in the postseason, they earned a trip to the NFC Championship.

Aaron Rodgers was incredible, completing 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. His pocket presence was off the charts, spinning out of several close sacks and making plays with his legs. The defense held strong. Tramon Williams picked off Matt Ryan twice, returning the second one back for a Packers touchdown just before halftime.

Despite having an advantage at Lambeau Field, the 2012 Packers are built to play on a fast track. And that’s exactly what the Georgia Dome is.

With Randall Cobb out of the lineup in week 17 at Minnesota, Greg Jennings proved just how special he can be indoors after the catch. Opposing teams don’t enjoy playing in cold weather, but neither do most of the Packers. Plenty of the players likely wouldn’t mind making the Georgia Dome their home for a week.

Why it could be bad: These aren’t the same Falcons. Are they?

In 2010, the Falcons enjoyed a season very similar to this year. They were a solid team on both sides of the ball. But then the playoffs happened.

Atlanta hasn’t won a playoff game since 2004, but this is the best team they’ve had since then. They didn’t have Julio Jones in 2010, and now Jones and Roddy White combine to form what might be the league’s top tandem at wide receiver.

Jacquizz Rodgers has added a new dimension to this team at running back. Michael Turner is still an effective player around the goal line, but Rodgers is the running back that best fits this offense. As far as playmakers go, White, Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Rodgers are certainly an improvement what the Falcons had in 2010 with White, Michael Jenkins, Gonzalez and Turner.

But the biggest difference between the current Falcons and the 2010 team is the defense.

Atlanta had the No. 5 scoring defense in football throughout the regular season, allowing just 18.7 points per game. With the offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard, a stout defense makes this team even more dangerous.

3) Getting through the foam

Again, this Saturday, figures to be a tough game for the Packers. San Francisco came into Lambeau Field in week one with a nearly flawless game plan designed to stop Aaron Rodgers and attack a weak secondary.

The Packers are a better team now than they were in the season opener, so on paper, this game figures to be a hotly-contested matchup.

But if they move on, there are positives in negatives to both scenarios.

As mentioned before, the current Green Bay Packers are better suited for a fast track. Playing in the Georgia Dome would not only bring back memories of the blowout win in the 2010 playoffs, but it would allow the Packers’ wide receivers to make plays after the catch more regularly than playing on a frozen Lambeau Field.

However, Packer Nation would be limited on the road, whereas Lambeau Field would be 90 percent green, gold and blaze orange if the Seahawks came to Green Bay next week.

When looking at favorable matchups, it’s important to look at a team’s weaknesses. And through 17 games of the 2012 season, it’s easy to see that the offensive line is perhaps the Packers’ biggest deficiency.

Aaron Rodgers was sacked a career-high 51 times this season. Eight of those 51 sacks came in week three against the Seattle Seahawks.

But if the Seahawks advance this weekend, they would have done so without Chris Clemons, who led Seattle in sacks in the regular season with 11.5. It’s still a dangerous pass rush without Clemons, but he abused the Packers with four sacks in week three. It’s safe to say Rodgers and Co. will be happy Clemons is on the sideline, should the two teams meet again.

And while the Falcons defense is strong, its pass rush is rather mediocre. Atlanta recorded just 28 sacks in the regular season, which ranks just 25th among the 32 NFL teams.

The Packers shouldn’t be, and wouldn’t be, afraid of either team. Nor should either team be afraid of the Packers. All four teams remaining in the NFC Playoffs are capable of making a run to the Super Bowl.

But, assuming the Packers beat the 49ers, no scenario would please me more than seeing the Seattle Seahawks win this weekend. A matchup between the Packers and Seahawks at Lambeau Field would be downright special.

After the two teams played in September, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King called the game “one of the great disgraces in NFL history.” The replacement refs screwed up, and playoff seedings were affected.

But now it’s January. And typically around this time of the year in Wisconsin, it’s cold. And what Packers fans would say “no” to another playoff game at Lambeau Field?

Pete Carroll, Golden Tate and Co. were sure excited after receiving a gift victory earlier this season. Should the Packers win, fans should be hoping to serve Seattle a nice dish of revenge next week in Green Bay.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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  • http://grizzlymitch@bresnan.net montanacheezhead

    Dispite recent playoff setbacks at Lambeau, history will tell you that it is a great home field advantage. Bring on the Seachickens. The build up for this game would make it a true classic.

  • Tarynfor12

    Having the home field is always great but since the SB is played indoors,I’m more than happy to forget the revenge game against Sea thinking and play on what we’ll be playing on in The GAME!

    Besides,I hear they still believe that neither Sherman or the Packers ever stormed through Atlanta…some folks just love to relive history and dwell in denial.

  • Pack Fan in ATL

    Come on GA Dome! I obviously just want to see an NFC Championship game in person. =)

  • White92

    I have to go with another game at Lambeau purely for selfish reasons. If that happens, I will go to my first NFC Championship game.

    Go Pack Go!

  • Barutan Seijin

    Moot question. Can’t see Atlanta winning. They had the easiest schedule in the league and weren’t really all that impressive against the patsies they faced — Giants game excepted. If Seattle could beat Washington on the E. Coast, they can beat Atlanta, too. I suppose Atlanta in a dome would be an easier matchup for the Packers.

    In any event, the Packers have to beat SF first.

  • Slim11

    Don’t care either way. Getting past the 49ers comes first.

    That said, regardless of the opponent, this Packer team has enough players from the SB XLV team to be hungry enough for another SB ring. They should want to prove themselves again following last season’s embarassing end against the Giants.

    Personally, I want to see Seattle in Green Bay. Seattle hasn’t seen a “12th Man” until they play in Green Bay or in College Station, Texas…the true home of the 12th Man!

  • Spree

    I already bought my tickets for the Georgia Dome… Go Pack Go