There is no question that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has a had a breakout season. With 79 tackles, five interceptions and seven passes defensed, the third-year man is headed to the Pro Bowl.
However, if the Green Bay Packers and Clinton-Dix, instead want to be playing in the Super Bowl, the former Alabama standout is going to need to step up and deliver big plays like he did late in the season.
After teaming with fellow safety Morgan Burnett to make big play after big play down the stretch, including three interceptions over the final six games, Clinton-Dix has made little impact in the playoffs.
The Pro Bowler and Second-Team All-Pro was practically invisible against Dallas. And when he had chances to make a play on Zeke Elliot, he couldn’t deliver. It’s hard to say what has caused this dip in production the past few weeks, but if the Green Bay defense is going to get enough stops to win Sunday in Atlanta, Clinton-Dix must be better.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 17, 2017
Obviously, at this point, the Packers defense is no juggernaut. But Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, who has led the offense to 30-plus points in five straight games. The two-time MVP will need to keep his hot streak going and in turn, the defense just needs to find a way to contain the Falcons anyway possible.
Any kind of stop will be huge. Even holding Atlanta to a field goal instead of a touchdown could make a difference. However, the thing the Packers truly must do is get a takeaway or two.
Packers & Falcons battle Sunday for a trip to #SB51
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 18, 2017
That’s what championship defenses do. Green Bay did it when it won its last Super Bowl and to beat the Falcons, I predict the Packers will need at least one takeaway.
That’s where players like Clinton-Dix come in. Certainly, he isn’t the only one. Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Burnett (if healthy), Nick Perry, Mike Daniels and even Micah Hyde all need to come through with big plays.
The Packers defense isn’t good enough to dominate anyone, but if guys like Clinton-Dix can make a few impact plays, it might be just enough to let Rodgers win the day.