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Why the Packers Will Beat the Falcons and Why they Might Not

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Why the Packers Will Beat the Falcons and Why they Might Not

After last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers have a chance to knock off another elite NFC team tonight as they take on the Atlanta Falcons.

Of course, since the Packers lost to the Falcons in the NFC title game last season, the Packers and their fans have been waiting for a chance at revenge. And if Green Bay could spoil the opening of Atlanta’s new stadium, it would enact some meaningful revenge.

Yet, winning in Atlanta will be easier said than done. The Falcons have an explosive offense, they are well coached, they have the reigning NFL MVP, maybe the most dangerous skill-position player in the league and a solid defense.

However, the Packers are no slouch and for whatever reason, this team seems to have a one-track mind: win the Super Bowl and beating Atlanta tonight would be a nice step towards that ultimate goal.

Here are a few reasons why Green Bay has a good chance at winning tonight and a couple reasons why the Packers might fall short.

Why Green Bay will win:

One thing that came out of the NFC title game last year was Green Bay’s commitment to overhauling its defense. It was clear that day that the Packers didn’t have enough speed or athleticism to win it all. Now, we will see if that’s changed.

The nitro package looked great against Seattle. So did the run defense and the pass rush, thanks in large part to Mike Daniels. If Daniels can continue to dominate and the nitro package can help keep the Falcons in check, Green Bay will be in a good position to win.

Secondly, Aaron Rodgers needs to be great. He has arguably more offensive weapons around him now than he has ever had. Before the season, I felt Rodgers had a strong chance to win the MVP this season and I think that campaign starts tonight.

Lastly, Mike McCarthy may get his fair share of criticism, but this year, he seems determined lay it all on the line. He knows this team is good enough to win it all and I think he is coaching with that mindset. I for one have always felt that McCarthy was one of the best coaches in pro football and tonight, I think he will show why with his game plan and his aggressiveness.

Why Green Bay may lose:

It’s always hard to win against a good team that is opening a new stadium, case in point was the Vikings loss in Week 2 a year ago. Yet, what concerns me more about this game is the availability of both offensive tackles.

Bryan Bulaga didn’t play last week and now David Bakhtiari is also questionable. If Kyle Murphy has to play for Bulaga again, Green Bay can survive, but if both tackles are out, the Packers hopes of winning will decrease significantly.

The other season Green Bay could lose this game is Jones, plain and simple. If the Packers can hold him to around 100 yards or so and limit his big plays, they have a chance. But if he goes off like he did in the NFC title game, it’s hard to see the Packers winning without an extraordinary performance from Rodgers.


Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Qoojo's picture

Points of concern: Atlanta has a better QB than seattle and a star WR, so it will be interesting to just how much the defense has improved over last year. Plus, Atlanta's OL is better.

They could be starting the game with 2 backup offensive tackles. If they must use both backups, then just getting rodgers through the game uninjured means the game was a success. Then if there is an injury on the line, lookout. Otherwise, if healthy, I see Rodgers and the offense in sync better, and shredding the defense.

lou's picture

I will take Wilson over Ryan in a "big game" every time, Wilson has WON the big one and the game Ryan had over the Packers was when we had converted WR's from the practice squad active for the game as CB's, Mathews was playing with one shoulder and Perry still had a club on one hand. Wilson's ability to scramble makes him a threat every time he has the ball in his hands and Ryan wasn't smart enough late in the Super Bowl to throw the ball away a couple times instead of sacks that took them out of field goal range that would have iced the game. I would feel a lot better if Rodgers had more reps in the pre-season and we had a healthy and in shape Eddie Lacey type, the Bears ability to run the ball kept Ryan and his great WR's and RB's off the field and gave them a shot to win at the buzzer. Reps are the key for the offense to be in sync.

GVPacker's picture

I agree Lou! Ryan is Abe Lincoln tall and has the vertical advantage of being able to see down field well. His mobility is suspect and he moves like an over grown turkey. He's kinda like a cardboard cutout in the pocket. I knew the Packers had no chance of winning that NFC Championship Game when he was able to elude Joe Thomas on that QB scramble for a touch down. Russel Wilson is like a cat he's extremely fast and agile with a good arm. Trying to sack him is a chore, he's more slippery than whale shit on an ice flow!

Chris Peterson's picture

Yes if the defense can hold up this week I will be truly impressed. Wilson is a good QB but the Packers have had his number so I want to see how GB does against an elite offense like Atlanta.

cheesehead1's picture

Onus is on the D. Looking for more improvement and consistency. Tonight we get a better read on how much this D has improved or not......Go Pack!

dobber's picture

I think that just as we shouldn't be "too up" on this defense after last week, we shouldn't get "too down" on them if they look like they're getting had tonight. I just don't see that one game or this one game as giving a true read on what this defense is...unless they beat up the Flacons tonight, of course! ;)

chugwater's picture

Well said Dobber. Like Nagler says, 'There's a whole lotta ballgame left.'

The play of many of these teams will be completely different by the end of December. One game in September won't make or break us.

4thand1's picture

All we need is for the defense to get a few stops. A turn over or 2 would be icing on the cake.

Community Guy's picture

this looks like a game where the QB with the highest rating gets the W. on both sides of the ball, shifty runners will be factors; however, these are two quarterback-driven passing teams.

it would be great to see the Packers secondary put up impressive resistance. they need to limit the big plays. one-on-one's vs. Sanu and Gabriel could be big factors in the outcome. i think the Pack can cover Falcon's TE Austin Hooper.

if Rodgers can stay upright and not turn the ball over, Rodgers should demonstrate another MVP-like performance.

Since '61's picture

Not only is the Packers defense healthy and faster than last season the Packers offense, except possibly our OTs, is also healthy for this game, unlike the NFCCG. Bennett adds another dimension to our offense for the Falcons to deal with. If our OL holds up Rodgers has the weapons he needs to move the ball, run the clock and score points.

Our defense has a new look for Ryan to face. If we can get enough pressure to force him to throw on the move we can create turnover opportunities.

Another issue, take nothing away from Atlanta but they may not yet be in sync this season with their new OC and other coaching changes they have made. They or the Packers can lose this game and both teams can still go on to have deep playoff runs. Hopefully Atlanta's offense is still adjusting to their new OC while trying to deal with a revamped Packer's defense.
Thanks, Since '61

RobinsonDavis's picture

Agree with you 61 and hope the offensive coordination issues persist for the Falcons.

Nick Perry's picture

If the Packers win here their definitely in a spot where NO ONE predicted they'd be after week 2 and that's 2-0. The Packers are healthy on defense and are a different animal than what the Falcons saw in the NFCCG. Control Jones and Freeman and the Packers win this game and I think it's that simple. Obviously that's easier said than done but the Packers now seem to have the pieces in place to do that. I would have loved to have Brooks available in this game, maybe Matthews and/or Frackrell can come up with a few big plays.

On offense I don't think Atlanta will slow down the Packers offense. Again this is a different offense than the one they faced in the NFCCG. Nelson's not wearing Kevlar, they have 2 new TE's who can do the same think Cook could PLUS actually block, and Montgomery is a RB now, not just a WR playing RB. The Packers start to pull away by the end of the 3rd quarter and win by running out the clock, just like last week.

RobinsonDavis's picture

I like the optimism throughout these posts, and Nick yours is SO spot on. The implosion last year was not due to any single issue, but a multitude of elements to a perfect storm. But to put it simple, we need to stop the Falcon passing attack. Health alone will not solely address the improvement needed. In last year's playoff game our offense had a very slow start, while the Pack's defense was under assault by a well planned offensive scheme. Our DBs played off their receivers and were not up to the challenge. Concomitantly, we were rushing 5 to 6 players and still not providing enough pressure on Ryan, who was able to step into his throws. As proof, Atlanta converted 10 of 13 third downs; the Pack was 4 of 10 with most of that in the 2nd half.

I expect the Falcons to attempt the same game plan as last time, and challenge our DBs with short-intermediate passes intermixed with an occasional fly or skinny post. Thus, DBs & LBs must disrupt the Falcon's receivers on the snap, AND we need pressure from the INTERIOR of the Dline. Too me though, it is imperative that the Packers' offense starts well, keeping Atlanta's offense off the field, and our defense fresh. GO PACK!

dblbogey's picture

We will know Fackrell has arrived as a player when we start spelling his name right. Kind of like we did with Brett Farverve or whatever it was.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Our tackles have the same health as our CB's last season. Aaron will run for his life, while Ryan will zip quick throws to open receivers. Then, idiots in the media will talk of how Ryan "outplayed" Rodgers.

Atlanta, 34-17.

Johnblood27's picture

Cow of the week award winner...

Lots has changed for the GBP in terms of the personnel that ATL will have to compete against on both sides of the ball.

Advantage - GB

A little has changed tothe naked eye on the ATL sideline, no Shanahan .
I believe that GB sideline has also changed a great deal, however those changes have not been seen. I mean the transition to a more "versatile" roster with TM full time RB and a stable behind him, 3 TE in the plan and healthy stable of WR. It will be up to MM to see that the changes benefit GB (aggressive, inspired gameplan).

Advantage GBP

Last year the regular season contest was a last second affair, the NFCCG was not a true evaluation of match ups. With the changes I believe that the only thing keeping the Falcons in this game is the hype and vigor around the stadium opening. Not enough...

GBP by 17.

RobinsonDavis's picture

We were struggling last year on the offensive line too ALP, but agree with the concern here. There were 2 things that concerned me from last week that I am hoping are improved this game. That is:

1) Our CBs still had issues including tackling and, as Andrew stated in his review, downfield coverage. Frankly, our DLine so dominated last game, that, besides a play or two, it is hard to judge just how improved our CBs really are at this point (Though, it is hard to argue that the Safety play has been anything other than exceptional).

2) Our offense started slow again.

dblbogey's picture

Hope you are wrong. I feel less confident after reading the Packers writer's predictions and gloomy articles. If Bakhtieri plays and plays up to his standards, it could be a game.

Spock's picture

I hope MM has the Packers coming out with lots of short rhythm passes to get QB1 and the OL (whomever plays) in synch. Sprinkle in some runs (hopefully some screens to slow down the speedy Atlanta defense). If they do that I think the defense is improved enough for Rodgers to take over this game and use up TOP from the Falcons.

Lphill's picture

If Rodgers gets in a comfort zone and is playing with a smile on his face then everything will go our way , I think the defense wants to show the world that the last meeting does not define them . Packers win by a TD .

GVPacker's picture

Off topic here but I'm watching the Bucs destroy the Bears. Ya know The Bears Really Do Suck Geez!

MarkinMadison's picture

Therein lies my hope. A bad Bears team took Atlanta to the wire last week. Atlanta may have some kinks to get worked out yet. We'll see who starts at T for the Packers and hope for the best.

Flow49's picture

Aikman likes the non calls for PI this afternoon/evening.... wonder why?

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