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Packers - Falcons - Three Questions

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Packers - Falcons - Three Questions

Green Bay’s Week 1 victory over Seattle saw the Packers leapfrog the Seahawks to be named the new favorite to win the NFC this season. But another stern test awaits Mike McCarthy’s team in Week 2 as it faces Atlanta in a grudge match. Seattle and Atlanta are Green Bay’s two biggest rivals to win the Conference, with the Cowboys perhaps thrown in for good measure, so it represents an outrageously tricky start to the season for the Packers. But it is a case of so far, so good and Green Bay can travel to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium full of confidence.

Expectations are high this year and nothing but a Super Bowl appearance will do for the Packers, and to do that you have to beat your Conference rivals, so this game will be crucial for the players’ conviction in their ability to end the long and painful run of playoff defeats. Here are some key questions that the Packers need to answer ahead of the game:


Can Green Bay’s defense maintain its high-performance levels?

Green Bay worked hard all summer on its “nitro” package and it paid dividends against Seattle, suggesting it will form the basis of the Packers’ defensive identity. Second-year safety Kentrell Brice played 47 of the defense’s 49 snaps on Sunday, next to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, while Morgan Burnett frequently found himself at linebacker and utilized his speed to great effect.

The defense restricted Seattle’s strong offense to just 14 first downs, while the Seahawks only managed 90 yards rushing. It was an assured and exciting performance and fans will pray they can keep it up. Nitro could come to the fore once again on Sunday as it will require a great deal of speed to handle Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and co. Having three safeties on the field gives them that speed and physicality.


Can the Falcons limit Aaron Rodgers?

Rodgers had beaten the Falcons four times in a row before last season, but Atlanta narrowly beat Green Bay in the regular season and then followed it up with a heartbreaking victory in the NFC Championship game. In that contest, Atlanta’s offense was on fire, but the Falcons also ramped up their defense and did a solid job of containing Rodgers. He finished the game with three touchdowns and one interception, but tellingly his longest completed pass was 34 yards.

De’Vondre Campbell will cause problems due to his speed and strength, while Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett will try to bully him and the loss of TJ Lang might give them more scope to do so. The Falcons’ defense will get in Rodgers’ face as much as possible and limit his big plays, keep him contained in the pocket and hit him as much as they can, so Rodgers has to remain calm and composed and get plenty of protection.


Can Green Bay pull off an upset?

Atlanta has home advantage and has won the last two meetings between the teams, so it is unsurprising to see it as the -2.5 favorite. But the Packers can absolutely avenge last season’s defeat and get a morale-boosting victory at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. If the Green Bay defense is as quick and aggressive as it was against Seattle then the Packers have every chance as Rodgers is perfectly capable of outshining Matt Ryan and handing Green Bay the win.

Review a sportsbook like 5dimes before placing action to find competitive odds, and backing Green Bay could be the way to go. The NFC looks extremely strong this year and if the Packers are to reach that elusive Super Bowl, home advantage in the playoffs will be crucial. The stakes are very high then even if it is only Week 2.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

"De’Vondre Campbell will cause problems due to his speed and strength, while Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett will try to bully him"

Campbell and Deion Jones aren't going to give the Packers any more problems than Wright and Wagner. Jones might be faster, Campbell might be strong as an ox but as a group Seattle has the best ILB Duo in the NFL IMO.

Bearmeat's picture

Exactly. Assuming Bakh plays, I'm not worried about ATL's defense. They're not as good as SEA's and our offense came to play when it needed to against SEA.

No, I'm worried about our defense against their weapons on offense. This is the litmus test. Exactly how much has our defense improved????

We're about to find out.

dobber's picture

Poe runs hot and cold. Jarrett looked good on their playoff run last year but he wears down if you make him work. Someone on an earlier thread pointed to Tak McKinley, but he only played 14/67 defensive snaps against the Bears. Their defensive front got bigger by adding Poe, but I don't think it's a strength.

You hit the nail on the head with the LBs. They've got two guys who can play all over the field, but they tend to overrun plays. They're not as good as Seattle's inside backers, but they're very aggressive. They can be had.

The Packers need to start fast. They need to keep the whole playbook open and force Atlanta to continue guessing what comes next. If the Packers have to play from behind and become one-dimensional, it makes it easy for an Atlanta defense that's really only average.

Daren726's picture

If Bulaga is back, then the line play will be even stronger than last week.

stockholder's picture

The packers need to run the ball. Short passes and not get in a shoot out. It's the west coast offense time to shine. Wear down that defense! I hope to see Adams this game. Rip will get his chance again. Turnovers and field position will decide this game.

dobber's picture

I think you're right on: Atlanta's defense can be beat down. Poe is a big dude, but he's not going to go the distance. Grady Jarrett has a reputation for wearing down, too. Patriots--and anyone who could control the ball last year--showed it. Packers are more of a ball-control passing offense (they're going to pass to run), but I don't think it matters much. Win TOP, don't turn the ball over, win the game.

Since '61's picture

In answer to your questions:
1. Can the defense maintain it's high performance level?
Answer TBD. How do we determine that? If the Packers hold Atlanta to under 24 points is that a high level? We need to factor in that compared with Seattle Atlanta has a real offense. If our defense can get off the field without allowing a score on most of Atlanta's series that will work for me.
2. Can Atlanta limit Aaron Rodgers? If our starting OTs play limiting Rodgers will be a problem for Atlanta. If our starters are out anything is possible.
3. Can Green Bay pull off an upset? Absolutely, otherwise why play the game? With a line of -2.5 which would be an even game at a neutral site is it still an upset when the underdog wins?
Packers 31- 23. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

Tundraboy's picture

D needs to set the tone to start and as last week so clearly showed, we we must control time of possession. Move the ball wear out their D and it can be 2010 all over again. At least for one day. GPG

Community Guy's picture

last week, the Pack's D did not allow a touchdown. this week, if the defense limits the Falcons O to 2-3 TDs, it should be enough for a win.

one more thought: i do not anticipate special teams to be a big factor in this game; however, turnover ratio is likely to be a huge factor in the game's outcome.

Fordham Ram's picture

Atlanta is going to notice right away the difference. It won't be a we bump and they run secondary out there, not this time.

BPEARSON21's picture

....... ...... lol it's only half time right now and Matt Ryan is 13-20 for a TD and a passer rating of 114.... lol

They're really feeling the difference. Ahhh I'm just going to sit back and watch our defense get slaughtered like I predicted they would all off-season long.

Randall/Rollins/Brice/House fan boys, where ya at??

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