Early Bird Breakdown Week 8 – Packers @ Falcons
Hello and welcome back to Early Bird Breakdown for week eight of the regular season for the Packers. Before diving into the game, let’s look at the recap from last week.
Last week Green Bay easily beat Chicago 26-10. The game was tight early but once the Bears’ starting quarterback Brian Hoyer went down, third string option Matt Barkley proved no challenge. Aaron Rodgers had a strong game against a quality defense, with the caveat that they were worn down due to being out on the field so long.
Packers’ Offense vs Falcons’ Defense:
The Packers got some momentum back on offense this week and fortunately play one of the league’s worst defenses. Atlanta is the second worst pass defense in the league. Their ninth ranked run defense is partially deceiving, as opponents have abandoned the run early versus them thanks to the wide open throwing lanes. However, Green Bay has some issues here.
First, they may be without starting wideouts Randall Cobb & Ty Montgomery, as well as left guard TJ Lang. Second, Green Bay still has not put it together and can be schemed against as the playbook and tendencies are on tape for opposing coaches to exploit. Third, the offense still has not found consistent rhythm and it will need to to keep up with Atlanta’s offense.
Packers’ Defense vs Falcons’ Offense:
The Packers defense will have it’s hands full Sunday. The secondary which has had a rash of injuries is once again without Quinton Rollins and Damarious Randall, not to mention the now-permanent loss of Sam Shields. Against the rag-tag third string corners is the NFL’s most physically gifted wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones, who earlier this season had a 300 yard game, is poised for a monster game. The only way the Packers have a chance in this would be Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews generating some inside-outside pressure to force mistakes and sacks by Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan. Matthews right now is questionable for the game, and if he can’t go that would be a major loss as the secondary cannot cover Jones man-to-man.
While Atlanta has a balanced offense, ranking in the top half of the league in rushing, Green Bay should have no issues containing a less-than-stellar run unit in check. This will be a high scoring, plenty of passes game.
Atlanta plays in a dome so weather has 0 impact.
This game has all the makings of a classing shootout. Atlanta’s defense is pretty poor so despite Green Bay’s struggles they should look good. On the other hand, Julio Jones will basically be open on every play that Matt Ryan can get the ball to him. This game is pretty neck-and-neck from an on the field standpoint, but the Packers already dire injury situation could get even worse if the players who are 50/50 cannot play. If you told me Lang, Cobb, and Montgomery were all guaranteed to play I probably would lean in Green Bay’s favor. As it stands, because of the injury factors and how likely Julio Jones will have a big game, I think Atlanta squeaks out a win 34-31.As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University