Fight for the NFC – Falcons vs. Packers

Six Searing Questions as Colossal Game Awaits

The Falcons are 8-2 and own the best record in the National Football Conference. They are atop their division with two head-to-head tiebreakers (at least currently) against their closest competitors, the Saints and Bucs. They roundly are considered to have a much easier schedule than many teams with their final remaining games, but this gigantic game against the red hot Green Bay Packers will set the tone for the drive to the playoffs and possibility of earning Dome-field advantage and a first round bye. The 8-2 record is extremely impressive, but the fact that 5 teams are only one game behind them at 7-3 (Bucs, Saints, Eagles, Packers, and Bears), make the lead very tenuous with a road game to Tampa Bay and home game against the resurgent Saints left on the docket. The Packers have had some of their own enormous wins (@ Jets and @ Philadelphia), but they’ve also had their share of perplexing losses (Bears, Redskins, and Dolphins) and razor thin wins (2 points over Lions and 4 points over Vikings – 1st game).

 All that being said though, the Packers are on a hot streak where they’ve beaten their last 3 opponents (Jets, Cowboys, & Vikings) by a combined score of 85-10. Regardless of who they’ve played, that’s impressive. When asked which defense would be the toughest when the schedule came out, many fans would have likely said the Steelers or Ravens. The truth may be that the Packers are the toughest. They are aggressive and two of the best defensive players at their respective positions in Charles Woodson at cornerback and Clay Matthews Jr. at outside linebacker. They are very similar to the Saints of last year, extremely opportunistic and aggressive defense coupled with a high-octane, attacking offense. Lucky for FOX, this one sets up as one of the best games of the year. Lucky for Falcons fans, this one’s in the confines of the Georgia Dome. Should be a ton of fun. Six searing questions as the colossal game nears…….

1) Can the Falcons Defense Contain Aaron Rodgers?

Aaron Rodgers is lighting up the scoreboard once again this year with the Green Bay Packers in their pass-happy offense. The injury sustained to Ryan Grant early in the season only cemented Rodgers importance to his offense. Hands down, he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and made the Pro Bowl last year leading the Packers to the playoffs. He is athletic, makes great decisions, and possesses the ability to make every type of throw. Although he only has 1 more TD, less than 100 more yards passing, a 2 point higher QB rating, and 4 more interceptions than Matt Ryan, Rodgers is second in NFC voting for QB’s right now on the season. He has an excellent arsenal of weapons in Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson at wide receiver. The Falcons secondary has had its ups and downs this year and really haven’t improved greatly since being last year’s bottom dwellers in terms of pass defense. They’ve done enough to win 8 out of 10 games, but have had some downright thrashings through the air (Eagles, Bengals, Ravens) with many less talented QBs than Aaron Rodgers. Can the Falcons “Rise Up” once more when one of the best high-flying offenses come to town? If not, it’s going to be a long day.

2) Will the Offense Be Aerial Assault or Ground and Pound?

After receiving some criticism early in the year, the Falcons offense has proven it can do whatever it takes to win and is almost clicking on all cylinders. They have shown they can score when they rely heavily on the run game and pound the defense into submission, while dominating the clock and time of possession. But they’ve also shown they can win through the air if they need to rely on Ryan’s arm and slinging the ball around the field. Their preference is obviously to be a run-first, clock chewing offensive football team as dictated and desired by Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey and Head Coach Mike Smith. In recent weeks, they’ve had no problem giving the keys to the offense to Matt Ryan and let him decide which is best. The Packers rank 11th best in the NFL in passing defense, 18th in rush defense, but rank 4th in the NFL in sacks. Since the Packers are well-known for their offense, particularly their “explosive” passing game (even though they only rank 11th, which is just 2 spots ahead of Atlanta), the Falcons offensive brass will likely want to chew up the clock and pound the Packers on the ground, thus equalizing their good pass rush and keeping Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. If their first option doesn’t work, they’ve shown they can win if they get into a shootout, but that obviously won’t be there preference.

3) Can Falcons Neutralize Clay Matthews, Aggressive Defense?

The former USC linebacker has turned into one of the best defensive players in the game in only two years in the game. He already possesses 11.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, and 1 touchdown on the year. The Falcons had the chance to draft Matthews in 2009 when they possessed the 24th overall pick. Many fans clamored for them to take Matthews (ahem), but they decided to go with Peria Jerry and the Packers quickly snagged him only two picks later at #26. Granted, the 3-4 aggressive scheme certainly suits his style much more, but some may wonder what may have been as Matthews is already on his way to his second straight Pro Bowl in only his second year. Even though it doesn’t matter how or when you get 11.5 sacks, the total is a touch skewed to the fact that 6 of his 11.5 sacks came in the first two weeks. Since then he’s averaging roughly 1 sack per game. The Packers defensive line has a ton of sacks as well with DE Cullen Jenkins owning 4 and DT BJ Raji owning 2. The Falcons offensive line have come up big in recent weeks and seems to have possibly turned the corner, but their biggest challenge lies ahead with Clay Matthews leading the aggressive Packers defense on Sunday. Obviously, a strong running game and a quick passing game can help slow down Matthews, but if those don’t work well than Matt Ryan can count on seeing a lot of #52.

4) Is Lack of National Respect a Motivation?

You wouldn’t know that the Falcons have the best record in the NFC and are tied with the best record in the NFL by listening to pretty much all the national media outlets and networks. Who knows the reason why the Falcons aren’t getting more respect and the possibilities make for a long list: the Falcons have had a weaker schedule, the Falcons can only win at home, the Falcons aren’t a “glamorous” team, the Falcons have gotten lucky too much, the Falcons haven’t beaten many quality opponents, the Falcons are too “blue-collar” to sell storylines, or there’s a northeast bias against Atlanta. It’s as if these networks (ESPN, NFL.com, NFL Network) have a flavor of the week of any team OTHER than the Falcons. First it was the Saints, then the Giants, and now it’s the Eagles and Packers. Some, including Chris Collinsworth of Sunday Night Football, even went out of his way to mention how good the Saints and Bucs were at 7-3 (who the Falcons have both beaten) instead of the 8-2 Falcons. Take your pick of “national” commentators from Chris Collinsworth and Peter King to Jamie Dukes and Rod Woodson, they’ll all might say the Falcons are OK, but never mention them as one of the best in the NFC.

 It sure is nice to fly under the radar and sneak up on people, especially after actually owning the best record in the conference, as Roddy White mentioned after the Ravens game. But deep down there has to be some serious motivation going on in the locker room after actually having the best record in the NFC, but being discussed as a middle-of-the-road team and sometimes even the 3rd best in your division. Who knows what the deal with the national talking heads is and who cares. The bottom line is to keep winning football games. Beating the Ravens was supposed to bring some respect, but it hasn’t. The Falcons have another huge opportunity to make a statement in the NFC against the “new best team in the NFC” Packers. Granted, exterior motivation such as lack of respect in the media won’t last for 60 minutes and help win a football game, but you can bet that the Falcons have heard how “weak” they are a time or two.

5) Will Defense Generate a Pass Rush?

The Falcons have drafted several defensive tackles in the past draft to bolster their interior defensive line with the 1st round selection of Peria Jerry in 2009 and the 3rd round selection of Corey Peters in 2010. Mix those guys with Jonathan Babineaux (who was robbed of a Pro Bowl selection last year), the very underrated Vance Walker, Jamaal Anderson’s versatility and you have a deep DT position that has been able to create good pressure on the QB and backfield. The defensive end position as a whole and the defensive scheme, though, have left a lot to be desired. John Abraham is the heart and soul of the defensive line and obviously provides a boost to the pass rush, but the Falcons are buried deep on the chart in terms of sacks (24th in NFL) with 18. Compare that to the visiting Green Bay Packers with 29 and you get the feeling that the Falcons pass rush isn’t getting it done. Truly, a good defense isn’t designated only by sacks because the Falcons are tied for 2nd in the NFL in interceptions. The two can go hand-in-hand though if you look at the Eagles (26 sacks – 19 ints), Packers (29 sacks – 15 ints), or Titans (30 sacks – 15 ints).

Abraham owns 8 of the 18 sacks and no other player holds more than 2 (Lofton, Babineaux) and the rest are scattered around the roster at 1 (Jerry, Anderson, Peterson, Williams, Biermann, Weatherspoon). The other defensive end spot has produced a paltry 1 sack with Biermann snagging only 1. Outside of Abraham, the Falcons haven’t had consistent pressure from another DE since Patrick Kerney left town. Maybe its too simple to just blame the defensive ends. Perhaps Brian Van Gorder and Mike Smith deserve a lion share of the blame with their scheme. After hearing of all the youth and speed upgrade, this defense doesn’t seem much more aggressive than last years. The defense rarely blitzes and when they do, they can’t even get there many times. The offense and defense have definitely swapped roles since the beginning of the season, where the defense once was the savior and the offense was the goat. They seemingly have switched recently. The defense does get credit for doing enough to win games, but the defensive coaches don’t seem to maximizing their talent. Who knows the definitive reason, but the defense will have to ramp up their pressure to beat Aaron Rodgers and go far in the playoffs.

6) Can Falcons “Rise Up” Again and Defend the Dome?

Seems like this has been a constant theme each and every week, especially lately. There have been a ton of games where the Falcons needed to rise up and Defend the Dome against tough and highly-rated opponents. Whether it be the “best team in NFC” Bucs, the perennial contender Ravens, or now the “red hot” Packers. The Falcons own the only unbeaten streak at homein the NFC and we know the other statistics pretty well: 18-3 at home under Mike Smith (2 games without Ryan and Turner), and 18-1 at home with Matt Ryan as the starter. An unbelievable mark that gives fans the confidence that any game is never out of reach or any opponent is too tough or “red hot” to be beat by the Falcons in the Home Sweet Georgia Dome. Coach Mike Smith has already made a plea for the fans to get there early and get loud. It was easy for nationally televised primetime Thursday Night Game, and it should be just as easy for fans on this one. An NFL season is a marathon and the Falcons have had a fantastic year to date, but how this season ends may be determined by this game. If the Green Bay Packers are the “Best Team in the NFC” according to the talking head elite, than you have to beat the best to be the best. Simply put, a COLOSSAL GAME AWAITS!

Bonus Questions

Can Roddy White continue his dominance this year against one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Charles Woodson?….Can Sean Weatherspoon get back up to speed in this game and relay a needed impact?….Will this be the game where we see some plays made by Thomas DeCoud or Christopher Owens?….Will Aaron Rodgers pick on Brent Grimes or Dunta Robinson?….Will this be the week that Harry Douglas reminds of his fantastic rookie year?….Will the Falcons special teams have another gaffe?

Your Turn

-Simple to you: How big is this game?

-Are you afraid of the Big, Bad, Best Packers?

-Can the Falcons defense contain Red Hot Rodgers?

-Does the secondary have it in them to stop this receiving corps?

-Aerial Arsenal, Ground and Pound, or a mix to win this game?

-Can the Falcons win a shootout with the Packers?

-Will the O-Line continue their streak and slow down Packers attacks?

-Did Falcons make a mistake not drafting Clay Matthews in 2009?

-Do you think lack of national respect is a motivation to players, team?

-Who’s best in NFC: Eagles, Packers, Saints, Bucs, Bears….Lions (of course not Falcons)?

-What’s the deal with the lack of pass rush?

-Who’s most to blame: DE’s, LB’s, or Van Gorder/Smith?

-Do Falcons need to draft DE in 1st round in 2011?

-Can Falcons keep their “Home Sweet Dome” streak alive?

-Will fans be as loud and imposing as Ravens game?

-Also, take a try at “Bonus Questions”

860 comments Add your comment

Sarah B

November 23rd, 2010
11:37 pm

Go Cowboys; Go Ravens; Go Falcons!!!!!

Loud, Loud, LOUD, LOUDER!!!!!

Sarah B

November 23rd, 2010
11:38 pm

Packers – Not In Our HOUSE!

RJ

November 24th, 2010
12:04 am

RE: “…and surprising upstart at tight end Jermichael Finley…”
Um, Finley has been on IR since the Redskins game (Week 3). Nice homework.

Packer 33 ATL 20

Sarah B

November 24th, 2010
12:20 am

D3 – RJ has you there – I had to cut Finley week 3 due to injury from our FFL here in the Cage league.

RJ is still wrong about the score though. Ask the Bears, Bengals, 9r’s, TB, Ravens… fans – We are 18-1 in the Dome with Ryan at the helm with a fluke loss to the Bronco’s. Good luck Packers!

FrontRow

November 24th, 2010
12:22 am

The game is huge. It’s not the Packers I fear; it’s the Falcons if they are not able to rise up to the level required for this big step. If they indeed step up then a W is in order.

Falcons will not stop Rodgers – get used to it and hope they don’t allow multiple embarrassing big plays. Try and contain the receivers and make the tackles. Rodgers is like a great baseball pitcher – be patient and jump on every mistake.

Offensively the Falcons can and should take advantage of the agressive play. I hear they are going to roll one of the corners on Roddy all day; that leaves a scheme for the rest of the crew. I’m wondering if HD can or will get his number called (obviously a decoy vs. Rams).

The will need to pass to set the run – this is what seems to be working for the Falcons against 3-4 defenses. Make the linebackers cover to loosen up the box and let Matt make the decision at the line of scrimmage.

The o-line is doing what it is doing because the team has enough tape to come up with a good plan each week. I don’t expect that to change unless the Packers have a whole other package they break open for this game and even then the Falcons will adjust.

I don’t know about Matthews – I thought there were a number of USC linebackers (and the Falcons needed one) in that draft and for some reason the Falcons wanted no part of any of them. Ultimately, only TD and crew know the answer to that one.

Right now the Eagles are the best team (sorry to say that cuz I think they’re a bunch of smurfs). The Giants, in losing, gave the blueprint on how to beat them. Somebody is gonna crunch a smurf or two and the Eagles will crumble; if that doesn’t happen the Eagles will go deep into the playoffs (smurfball doesn’t play well in the playoffs).

Falcons won’t find a d-end in the draft and they really need a linebacker that can work in space. They should be able to find maybe 2 of these to try and replace Petersen. Another Spoon would be great.

Home field is huge. The crowd was good against the Ravens but not great. Early and loud is the ticket – get these guys fired up before the game and get some momentum and see if we can get Rodgers and his o-line rattled. There will be Packer’s fans in abundance so drowning them out will be a secondary job for the 12th man.

In a close game (or a shootout), special teams may be a factor. The key is to make sure we play minimum mistakes in every aspect and not give anything cheap to the visitors.

A really long list there D3 thanks for the hard work.

D3

November 24th, 2010
12:24 am

RJ — Error corrected. By the way, Finley was put on IR after WEEK 4. He had 9 receptions in week 3 and 4 receptions in week 4. Kind of hard to make 4 catches after being placed on IR after week 3. They even have him listed as starting and playing in WEEK 5. Nice homework.

http://www.nfl.com/players/jermichaelfinley/gamelogs?id=FIN403212

Moose

November 24th, 2010
1:09 am

Nice one D3……….. Packers are going down and it will not be a shootout………. Turner grinds em up like turkey dogs ……………

RJ……… You really suck as a troll………. Go get a life will ya………..Saints suck too……….

DHunt

November 24th, 2010
1:54 am

The Falcons are one of the most disciplined teams in the league. The are also one of the best 3rd sown teams in the league. These are not flukes. If you don’t believe in Roddy by now, you must be mad. He is money on 3rd down, and a deep threat all the time. Turner is a slow starter, but consistently finishes strong. Do I really have to choose? We have weapons we haven’t even figured out how to use yet. But the play book gets expanded each week it seems. Did I mention that the Falcons are one of the most balanced teams in the league.

These guys are getting it done, more often than not; on both sides of the ball. Pick on Grimes if you want to. he’s about due for a pick 6. Whose afraid of Mr. Rogers. He really isn’t that good if you just rattle him a little in the pocket. The Falcons defense hasn’t been getting the sacks, but they are getting QB’a moving and disrupting timing. They are going to Rise Up to the thought of playing a top tier team, just like they did to the Ravens in the first half. We know they have it in them. And we know they intend to sustain it.

Because the biggest thing of all is this team has shown a whole lot of heart. They make mistakes, they bounce right back. You rarely see a lack of effort from this team. They are getting progressively better each game. At 8-2, they all want to get better. That’s amazing. They aren’t satisfied with a 17 point, bookie breaking win on the road against a hot home team. They are all talking about lapses and inconsistency. You would almost think they lost the game. That attitude doesn’t need any more motivation, but haters are only going to make the Falcons more focused on the task. They are going to be 17-2 when its all over, because they have the same goal every week. Go 1-0, get a win today, do whatever it takes.

No no my friends, these are not your daddy’s Falcons. I expect a comfortable win over Green Bay. The Pack will make some plays. Everybody makes some plays. Even Carolina has a highlight every now and then. But the Falcons can go blow for blow with anybody in the league. The defense will Rise Up and be the difference in this one.

CPat16

November 24th, 2010
2:23 am

This game makes me alil nervous, just like the Saints and Ravens game. But we can out and handled our business and I expect the same in this game. However, I just dont the way we do it. Nice comfortable lead and then we take the foot off the pedal to let them tie or get really close. I’m gonna have a cardiac arrest by the time this season is over. Packers are only 18th or so against the run and we’re top 10 stopping the run. Meaning that we can make them one dimensional and use our defensive front 4 to put pressure on Rodgers and put some nice “u gonna feel that tomm. morning” hits on him. Our secondary scares me the most considering we’re still 23rd or 24th against the pass. Rodgers is probably foaming at the mouth when thinking about our secondary, but I hope the pass rush gets to him before he can do significant damage. Our offense has been clicking as of lately and we need to do the same thing that we did against Baltimore and come out using the no huddle to keep them off balance and honest. This may look like a high scoring game, but its gonna more a defensive slugfest….21-20 Falcons. Rise Up!!!!

Ueeediot

November 24th, 2010
2:49 am

Game could go like the Ravens, Steelers, and New Orleans games. All big games against the top competition in the league and all close contests throughout. Also, could go like the Philly game, but I think that was an exception. (It had better be)
Win the game and the path to the NFC South is much easier.

I said a few weeks ago….win 4 out of the next 5 games in 6 weeks. The Falcons have done that already.
I have to believe we can beat Carolina twice this year and even traveling to Seattle doesnt have the ominous feeling it usually does…
If we lose to GB and win against Tampa and New Orleans then we still finish 13-3 and win the NFC South and probably the 2nd seed.

So the question back to you D3, is it ok to lose to GB, be demoted even further off the radar and run the table or win against GB and have all the attention and associated pressure?
Is this team like the Aints of 2007 who were strong enough to win it all, but didnt know how? Or, do you feel they can handle the pressure?

Ueeediot

November 24th, 2010
2:56 am

DHunt,
You are dead on that this is a balanced team! It took the OC a bit to get it, but now he seems to be figuring out how to use screens and the long ball to open up the center of the field (which Matt has finally come back to) and help the interior run game.
I havent seen this team so deep at the RB position – ever. They have a HoF TE, a top quality WR, and have enough other weapons to finish it off.

Gimmie a good punt and kickoff return guy/WR or a DE next draft and this team could contend again (if they are allowed to play) in 2011.
The worst thing for this franchise is a work stoppage.

BJRB

November 24th, 2010
3:09 am

Interesting article Mr. Dawson. I am a Packer fan and I’m always interested in reading the opposing fans spin about upcoming games versus the Pack. I haven’t been able to see much of Atlanta yet this year but they have some impressive wins. I do however disagree with your arguement the Falcons don’t get any national respect – They are currently ranked number 1 in the NFL, for the 2nd week in row, in ESPN’s Power Ranking Rankings while the Packers are slotted at #7 – figure that one out?!

Playing at home will be a great advantage to “Matty Ice” and the boys – no doubt, but as you mentioned, the Packers fans travel well and expect to see plenty of “Cheese” in the Dome. The Packers have been moving Jennings into the slot and doing a lot of motion type plays to allow him more free-releases. GB’s 2nd (Driver), 3rd (Jones), and even 4th (J. Nelson) recievers are too much to handle unless Atlanta can get quick (and constant) pressure on Rodgers. Some teams have been successful at this some of the time, but the second the D gets blocked up, Rodgers will torch ya.

Like I said, I haven’t seen enough of Atlanta to fully analyze this game but I will say I respect the Falcons team and organization. This game should be awesome and the winner, in my opinion, (whoever it is) will be the the NFC SuperBowl representative.

Any inside info Packers RB Dimitri Nance – picked off of Falcons practice squad?

Around the league NOTES: Bears – pretenders, Saints – looking strong, Pitt, NYJ and most of the AFC – way overrated, Tampa – Not buy’n ‘em

zolaistheone

November 24th, 2010
3:26 am

DHunt – “He really isn’t that good if you just rattle him a little in the pocket. The Falcons defense hasn’t been getting the sacks, but they are getting QB’a moving and disrupting timing.”

Did you see how rattled he was Sunday when he was flushed from the pocket, scrambled to his left and hit Jennings for the first touchdown of the game? He looked so uncomfortable, nervous, full of doubt, even. It was hard to watch. Just awful.

harleyman

November 24th, 2010
6:34 am

Chris Collinsworth is a d$ck. He has never liked the Falcons for some reason. Maybe they beotch slapped him at some point in his career. Also, northeast bias is the norm in all sports whether it’s college football, pro football, baseball, or whatever. The Falcons could win the Super Bowl and ESPN would report for thirty minutes on who Derek Jeter was dating. I say just keep going to work Falcons and f@ck all the rest.

SeminoleWarrior

November 24th, 2010
7:08 am

Great Scott, Commissioner (D3)……what a subject line. Just perfect for me to continue to realign my thoughts. Back later in the morning to provide some impacts before hitting the road for the holidays.

Cane Pole

November 24th, 2010
7:43 am

This my Friends is Gonna be a Super bowl of a game .

Good Morning Cage Family…Happy Thanksgiving Eve.
Sunday is Going to tell us if the Falcons are ready for the big dance and if they can win it. To me if the Birds pull out a win here then that says it all . And if Smith and MM have prepared the team and they bring there best game then I think they can do it .
Roddy White will have his hands full with these corners but I look to see him still have a good game.
Weatherspoon I hope is all well and he has to be at the top of his game ready and hungry to play .
Gonzo is gonna half to step up and give us a game of old .
The D line has to put pressure on Rogers this will be a key to a Victory also.
Our corners have to play like they are hurting for a job . And ST have to stand firm and hold them down.
Turner and Snellings need a big game in this one as well . Another 100yrd game and we post a win

Well WORK CALLS ME ONCE AGAIN. D3 WE ARE ALL THANKFUL FOR YOU MAN .
CAGE FAMILY MAY YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED HOLIDAY…….GO FALCONS…!!!!!!

Bull Schmitt

November 24th, 2010
7:54 am

I think William Moore is gonna have a breakout game on his way to becoming the next elite safety. Brent Grimes will have two picks…one for a touchdown. Bierman is gonna pop Aaron Rogers good in the 2nd quarter and put fear into him the remainder of the game. Turner will have 150+ rushing yards with one touchdown of 30+ yards. Gonzalez will be a beast as usual. White will be a decoy and Jenkins will have 100+ yards. At least that is my dream. Go Falcons! Beat those Cheezits!

dean

November 24th, 2010
8:25 am

Packers DB’s: “Hey. Who’s that guy? #86. How’d he do that? Dayum. We’re down 17 now. Dayum.”

:)

Pack

November 24th, 2010
8:46 am

This game will come down to two things: Can the Falcons put pressure on Rodgers and can the Packers stop the run. The Falcons wore down the Rams last week and pulled away at the end of what had been a close game. Green Bay is very deep on the defensive line with some big bodies. I don’t see them being worn down like the Rams were. Atlanta is also not very good at getting to the quarterback. If they give Rodgers time, Green Bay will score quickly and often, forcing Atlanta to become one dimensional and the Pack will make this ugly.

Packers 27, Atlanta 13

dean

November 24th, 2010
8:54 am

Hey Pack. Aerosmith has your song. “DREAM ON”

(BTW, Packers are my back-up team. I was a Packer fan before ATL even had a team.)

Seth S

November 24th, 2010
9:02 am

This will be a good game, but the Packers D has just been too dominant lately. Packers win 21-10.

Cow

November 24th, 2010
9:05 am

The Packer defense takes pride in not giving up scores. 10 pts. in the last 3 games is huge. Adrian Peterson was held to 72 yds. in the Humpty Dome. It won’t be easy to run on the Packers, and I have seen little to no mention of Charles Woodson. He’s a game changer, and will be the difference in this game when he blitzes and causes Ryan to fumble. Prepare to die, Falcons. Packers 33 Falcons 9

Ethan

November 24th, 2010
9:18 am

Great article. I am a Packer fan so I haven’t seen the Falcons much this year except for the Ravens game, but as the article says, if they are struggling with both generating a pass rush and in the secondary, I think this will be a tough game for them. Even without Finley GB passing offense seems to be coming together.
One question – what was the logic behind building a dome in Atlanta? It wouldn’t seem that weather is a factor, is it?

Pack

November 24th, 2010
9:24 am

The only chance I see for the Falcons is the dome atmosphere. Green Bay always seems to have trouble in domes. That looks to have changed now after the Vikings game in arguably the toughest dome in the league to be a visitor. Unless Rodgers is off his game and throws a couple of picks (which he hasn’t done lately), I just don’t see Atlanta winning this.

PS: I don’t think the lack of discussion about Atlanta is due to a lack of respect. It is due to a lack of interest. The national media like to talk about teams they are used to talking about. It will take a few years of doing well to get into the conversions. It also takes a couple of years to get out of the conversation once you are in it. Take the Ravens defense. It was really good for awhile now, but event though it is a shell of its former self, the medial still think of the Ravens as having a great defense.

Sports Review

November 24th, 2010
9:27 am

[...] Fight for the NFC – Falcons vs. PackersAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)The Packers rank 11th best in the NFL in passing defense, 18th in rush defense, but rank 4th in the NFL in sacks. Since the Packers are well-known for their …Morning State Sports Briefs: Four UW football players up for national awardsPierce County Herald [...]

Falcon James

November 24th, 2010
10:08 am

the packers aer going to be tough for us. we needs to string together a full game for all 180 minute. everytime we gets complacent is when we loose. but when we not complacent is when we win. i hope ryan spent a little more time in film room and Tony G figure out how to catch a ball. robinson better start covering he man or esle he going to get booed out of the doom. our week spot is still the DB and CB. the packers QB know this and he will through the ball 100 times. maybe the falcon should let bryant play on defence because he clearly our best chance to win.

dean

November 24th, 2010
10:09 am

“I just don’t see Atlanta winning this.”

I do.

Continual body shots by ATL, as in boxing, will destroy the Packers minds. Destroy the mind, you destroy the body.

[...] Getting the perspective from the opposition, the Atlanta Journal Constitution previews the Packers-Falcons game. [...]

Terrell

November 24th, 2010
10:13 am

I love how everybody points to our pass defense and says we are in trouble. There are quite a few teams in this league that have better passing defenses than us but the most important statistic to a defense is scoring defense. We are in the top 10 I believe in scoring defense. I would prefer to be in the top 10 in passing as well but if I have to pick between the 2 I would rather have a defense that gives up very little points than one that gives up few passing yards.

Terrell

November 24th, 2010
10:22 am

Ethan

The logic for the Dome is that it’s a multipurpose arena. They just don’t have football there but they have had other events such as WWE and Monster Truck, and even the Peach Bowl (SEC and ACC both prefer the indoors). It may not get down to -10 degrees F in Ga but it sure isn’t 60 degrees all winter long either.

FrontRow

November 24th, 2010
10:31 am

On the Packers great defense of late – it comes against 2 teams that ARE absolutely atrocious and one team (Jets) that has spurts of downright amatuer offensive play.

So, if you expect the Falcons to start imitating the Cowboy and Vikings then you should be nervous. If the Packers expect the same then prepare for a blowout.

QUICK80

November 24th, 2010
10:34 am

Morning Atlanta!
…how we feeling bout the Packers game?
I personally can’t wait to watch the battle between Mr. Woodson and Mr. white! Woodson’s a bully who doesn’t mind if he gets flagged a couple of times per game for holding, whatever. He’ll keep doing it.
He mugs guys out there and I love it.
That’ll be the matchup, that and if Atlanta will be able to run on them (which I don’t think they will very effectively)…I know they won’t be able to stop the Packers passing attack; too many good receivers.
As usual, turnovers will play a role I bet.
Peace out guys…

RobbE33

November 24th, 2010
10:39 am

Ok, Dunta, time to earn your pay!!!

Ethan

November 24th, 2010
10:47 am

Thanks Terrell, that makes sense.

Quick80, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tramon Williams spends most of the day on Roddy White. He’s been the Packers’ best cover corner this year, and they like to free up Woodson for blitzing by moving him around.

macdaddy t

November 24th, 2010
10:47 am

By the way, the Falcons did not have a “fluke loss to the Broncos” at home. We were absolutely destroyed by the Eagles last year 34-7. Our one loss at home was a demolition just as the Eagles did to us in their place this year. The Eagles are the only team to dominate us over the last two years and even if we win this weekend and do indeed get home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, the Eagles are the team to beat. I go to almost every home game and this will be our most difficult so far this year. The Pack beat the Eagles in Philly and the Eagles stomped us. We need to play better in the secondary to even have a shot in this game and for the playoffs.

QUICK80

November 24th, 2010
10:47 am

Hey “Dean”,
…enjoyed your post; who is that #21?
Dayum…pick six? Now we’re down 14-0. Dayum…who’s #21?…forced a fumble, touchdown! Dayum…it’s 21-zip…dayum…
His name is Woodson, Charles Woodson, #21. Dayum!!

QUICK80

November 24th, 2010
10:49 am

…point taken Ethan and it’s a possibility for sure…

QUICK80

November 24th, 2010
10:52 am

Tramon Williams is playing at a high level this year; doesn’t give up many catches (even) at all…just a couple all year.
Really stepped up this year.

SOME BODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

November 24th, 2010
11:31 am

This will be a tough game, I am tempted to question the quality of competition the packers has faced up to now, but beating the Jets kind of throws cold water on that analogy. The packers can and will be beat by the falcons, hold Rodgers under 300 yards passing, we will win going away, cut the snake head off, the body eventually stops moving. The packers have two impact players on defense, Matthews and Woodson, this duo can be disruptive with their aggresive play, the strenght of these two players are their aggresive style of play, if we game plan, scheme and execute properly, their strenghts could become weakness.

Had a chance to look over some statistic in packers 3 loses, when teams stand toe – toe with them and hit them in the mouth… ie Bears, Redskins and Dolphins, they seem to play an undisciplined style of football, in those 3 loses the refs threw laundry on them 34x for 260 yards, 13 of those penalties resulting in first downs, important stat. if we rattle them early, they will lose focus and keep some of our offensive drives going with stupid penalties.

Sarah B

November 24th, 2010
11:58 am

Packerstud

November 24th, 2010
12:00 pm

If you blink just once we will beat you down,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The Packers defense has allowed only 13 touch downs in 10 games. Charles Woodson is playing the best football of his career, Tramon Williams is a beast. In tandem they dare you to throw their way. If you do make a catch, hold on tight, the pair are the best in the league in forced fumbles and take aways. Clay Mathews is unstoppable. Often double teamed he still leads the league in sacks with 11.5. But it’s the relentless pressure that he brings All Day Long that will wear you down and cause you to make mistakes. Have you seen our D’s Psycho package? It includes 1 defensive lineman, 5 linebackers and 5 defensive backs. The Packers have allowed and average of 3.3 points in the last three games, in two of those games the opponent fired their coach the next day………………

Aaron Rodgers can beat you with his legs as well as his arm with a season rating 95.7. Hes playing smart and fast. Greg Jennings is a younger Donald Driver with better stats. Just like Driver, he’s an Iron Man that will line up in all 4, no make that 5 slots. Are you ready for our 5 wide package? When Ryan Grant went down in our first game, Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn stepped in. Add Dimitri Nance to the mix and the Packer have been able to pound the run game when needed. When we are up by 30 points, its a convenient way to run out the clock.

The Falcons haven’t play a truly potent team like the Packers yet. The Packers man handled the Vikings in the super loud Humpty Dump Dome. By the 4th quarter all you could hear was the chant “Lets Go Packers” of “Fire Childress” so scratch that advantage.

You may not fear us but come Monday you will respect us,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Packers 35
Falcons 6

WR

November 24th, 2010
12:07 pm

Morning cage, D3 great post for what hopefully is a great exciting game, crazy day so far so I’ll have to jump back in with my comment in a few. By the way Packerstud, the Pack ain’t all that 35-6 what are the Lombardi led packers coming to town and did the Falcons regress to the June Jones led birds, I must have missed something.

Side note: JJ, your post from last night I completely agreed and others knew about it, but it wasn’t weren’t bringing up in here, its all for fun I thought but every now and then things that are not right just pop up, just keep pushing forward brother.

G

November 24th, 2010
12:12 pm

SOME BODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

You need to also look at the other problem green bay had.

SOMEBODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

November 24th, 2010
12:14 pm

I smell cheese. I see we have company in the cage today. I have a little sumthin, sumthin for you packer fans, Coach Smith and his staff have been game planning for you guys for months, he knows your team better than your coaches.

Sarah B

November 24th, 2010
12:16 pm

Ethan – The Dome also had A LOT to do with the Olympics coming here. All the Gymnastics were in there.

Bangkapi Ajarn

November 24th, 2010
12:18 pm

Great start to the Thanksgiving weekend! Searing questions indeed, as two of the hottest teams in the NFL get together in this weeks premier contest (in my opinion) and the world gets to watch the Fearsome Flock of Falcons smack the pack!!
On to some idle analysis of D3’s questions De Jour (more than one part, lots to cover here):

-Simple to you: How big is this game?
**This could be a preview of a January Playoff game, so yes, really really big.
-Are you afraid of the Big, Bad, Best Packers?
** Afraid? Call it a bountiful amount of respect. I am respectful of EVERY NFL team the Falcons play, in this league any team is fully capable of beating any other team, just the way it is in the land of Parity. The Pack is especially fearsome, they are talented on both sides of the ball and they are red hot.
-Can the Falcons defense contain Red Hot Rodgers?
***bend but don’t shatter too much. I hope.
Pound the pack, push them back, then knock Mr. Rogers on his back.
-Does the secondary have it in them to stop this receiving corps?
**Feast or famine, the opportunity is there for 2 or 3 INT’s if they hold on to the ball, but the opportunity to get burnt is also very much alive.
-Aerial Arsenal, Ground and Pound, or a mix to win this game?
**Mix, do NOT get into obvious passing situations as the packers are VERY capable of intercepting Ryan multiple times. Don’t get fixated onto TG or RW, spread the ball around, be unpredictable.
-Can the Falcons win a shootout with the Packers?
**Yes

SOMEBODYNEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

November 24th, 2010
12:18 pm

Packerstud, you sniffing too much cheese.

GBcoming

November 24th, 2010
12:23 pm

SOME BODY NEED TOO TELL THE TRUTH

You all overlook the fact that Greenbay is recovering from a massive loss of season ending injuries plus the others. 3 on defense and 3 on offense you need to look at this team from a stand point of how it has overcome its problems threw rookies in the mix and is still making a charge at the SB. Any other team would have been done… We dont take this game for granted and I am sure Dom Capers is going to have an answer for your offense. Back in the weeks we did loose this team was in disarray from all the injuries plus loosing clay for a game didn’t help either. We are the poster child for adversity. The pack is going to be rocking your house this weekend. It will be interesting to see if the falcons are up to the task.

B-Man

November 24th, 2010
12:34 pm

When weatherspoon returns, I’d like to see Stephen Nicholas mixed in at the defensive end position in passing situations to see what kind of speed he can bring from the edge. Many times a linebacker sized DE can make things happen with speed and quickness.

Bangkapi Ajarn

November 24th, 2010
12:36 pm

Part 2:

-Will the O-Line continue their streak and slow down Packers attacks?
**I worry about this, a lot. Not sure they can control Matthews in the running game blocking
-Did Falcons make a mistake not drafting Clay Matthews in 2009?
**Hindsight is 20-20, but 8-2 tends to gloss over the specific use of a specific pick two years ago. Any pick in any round could likely be dissected by critics to find a player that was picked lower that has played at a higher level, or less injury issues, etc.
-Do you think lack of national respect is a motivation to players, team?
**They probably like it, same as the Saints flying below the radar so long last year.
-Who’s best in NFC: Eagles, Packers, Saints, Bucs, Bears….Lions (of course not Falcons)?
**I’m not smart enough to figure what team is best on what day (it changes often according to injuries, matchups, etc.), but the Falcons are up there, as are the Eagles. The Pack is in the mix for sure, and could beat any given team on any given day. As could the Falcons at this stage.
-What’s the deal with the lack of pass rush?
**Injuries I suspect.
-Who’s most to blame: DE’s, LB’s, or Van Gorder/Smith?
**LB’s because Spoon is hurt, and the injuries on the line as well.
-Do Falcons need to draft DE in 1st round in 2011?
**No
-Can Falcons keep their “Home Sweet Dome” streak alive?
**Yes
-Will fans be as loud and imposing as Ravens game?
**Should be, if they get there early Enough
-Also, take a try at “Bonus Questions”
Okie Dokie—
Can Roddy White continue his dominance this year against one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Charles Woodson?
**To an extent, but the league has possibly warned the game officials to watch Roddy to see if he is pushing off. If they cramp his style he will have problems.

….Can Sean Weatherspoon get back up to speed in this game and relay a needed impact?
I think he is still hobbled so his impact will be sporatic
….Will this be the game where we see some plays made by Thomas DeCoud or Christopher Owens?….
**I doubt it Rogers and his receiving corps are GOOD.
Will Aaron Rodgers pick on Brent Grimes or Dunta Robinson?
**Grimes mostly (like the rest of the NFL), but they WILL test Dunta to see what they can get away with
….Will this be the week that Harry Douglas reminds of his fantastic rookie year?….
I certainly hope so, but I fear MM is a creature of habit and will not send too much HD’s way, afraid of dropsies.
Will the Falcons special teams have another gaffe?
Odds are yes, but I seem to get the impression there has been some improvement on the offensive side of special teams. FG’s are quite good and returns seem to be improving a bit. Defensively I feel apprehensive when our Special teams take the field.