On the road again. Oh wait, the Packers haven’t had a road game in six weeks. The Packers will look to keep things rolling in Atlanta, but they face a difficult challenge against the league’s top offense. In this countdown to kickoff, we’ll take a look at 3 burning questions going into this game, 2 key matchups, and 1 bold – really bold – prediction.
Let the countdown to kickoff begin!
3 Burning Questions
Can the Packers disrupt Matt Ryan’s timing?
Matt Ryan has had one heck of a start to a season. He is at the top or right near it in nearly every passing category. He has always been a highly accurate quarterback and with time in the pocket he has proven himself deadly. The thing the Packers have going for them in this matchup is that Atlanta has allowed the fourth most sacks in the league. If the Packers can pressure Ryan and knock him off his rhythm, it bodes well for the Packers.
Can the Packers defense get off the field quickly?
Answer: They have to. Winning the time of possession in this game is crucial for both sides. This game is supposed to be a shoot-out. If the defense gets off the field quickly and the offense can sustain drives, it will be a big factor in the outcome of the game. Look for elaborate schemes from Dom Capers to try to defend Julio Jones and get to the quarterback. And when they do get off the field quickly, Rodgers and the offense have to keep the chains moving and put some points on the board.
Can Knile Davis provide a spark in the run game?
Ty Montgomery has established himself over the last two games as the featured back in the offense. But what he lacks in size and strength, Knile Davis makes up for with tremendous speed. Fresh to the team and still learning the playbook, Davis will probably have limited touches. But that doesn’t mean he can’t provide a spark. With big play capability and fresh legs, don’t be surprised to see Davis moving the chains for the Packers on Sunday.
2 Key Matchups
Green Bay’s secondary vs. Julio Jones
This is the matchup everyone is talking about. This is the matchup that every team who plays Atlanta talks about: How to shut down Julio Jones. I don’t know if there is a particular answer to that question, but the Packers have to keep him at the forefront of their defensive game planning. With Tevin Coleman likely out Sunday, it gives the Packers less to scheme for. It will be difficult for an injury-plagued secondary to shut down the game’s top wide receiver. But if we can limit his touches, the Packers can call that a job well done.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Atlanta’s secondary
Not to sound to repetitive, but this is important. The Atlanta secondary has given up a lot of yards, but they do get their fair share of interceptions. Any turnover is crucial in this game and #12 needs to be on point. The Falcons trot out a solid tandem of cornerbacks in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Both are young and athletic, but lack ball skills. Rodgers will need to exploit that and get multiple receivers involved. If he can do that, I like their chances.
1 Bold Prediction
Many Packer fans are wondering if Jordy Nelson still has it. This game is going to put an end to those doubts. Desmond Trufant has done a great job shutting down the opponent’s top receiver, but Jordy hasn’t been our top receiver this season so far. The Falcon’s secondary has struggled with second and third receivers. Jordy is likely to get some favorable one-on-ones this Sunday.
Mr. Nelson has had some fantastic performances against the Falcons throughout his career. and he’ll have a breakout game this week playing indoors on turf. I’m calling for a 9-132-2 stat line from good ol’ number 87 this week. I told you it’d be really bold!
Packers – 34
Falcons – 17