Welcome to Week 2, my victorious readers. The results from Week 1 were pretty damn satisfying. Taking on a full-power Seahawks squad and controlling the game to the extent the Packers did was impressive–even at Lambeau. I doubt I was the only one to have a few more drinks than I normally might during the game, especially after we went into halftime down 3-0. But the past is the past, let’s move on to…more past.
This week…the Falcons? Listen NFL schedule makers, I know you read this. Who doesn’t? (Hint: Most people) Why the 2 most capable NFC foes right off the bat? Not to mention, they’re the same two teams who have kept us out of the Super Bowl in recent years. I think we can win this week, sure. But, I was hoping football would be a little more relaxing to start off. This schedule is brutal, my friends (and so is my week long hangover).
The Trip to the Big Georgian Bird Bath
This is another common opponent for the Packers in recent years, giving me plenty of games to pick from. However, we know the most recent game–these are the sorry bird people who kicked us out of the playoffs last year. I didn’t really expect to make the Super Bowl, but it would have been a hell of a story and the dirty birbs ruined it like so many pigeons on Columbus’ head.
This is a different Atlanta team. Losing Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers might end up being a bigger deal than we might have expected–and I expected quite a bit. The Falcon’s were one Jordan Howard catch away from losing to the Bears in Week 1. Those Bears were plucky, to be fair, but their team is made up of no-names and they play Mike Glennon at quarterback.
The problem for the Falcons wasn’t the glare from Glennon’s prematurely bald head, it was the running game. They only managed 64 yards on 23 attempts. Conversely, they allowed Chicago to go 120+ on less than 20 carries. That’s being dominated on the ground. I like our run defense this year, let’s see if Ty can get something to eat.
But, let’s get down to it. This is Pack to the Past after all. I have a couple ideas of how this game may turn out. As usual, I’d like to use a couple of our games from the past to illustrate. S’go.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
October 9th, 2011
Final: GB-25 ATL-14
This was a grudge match from a memorable playoff game from the previous year and it was an indicator of the paths each team would take for the rest of their season. The Packers played poor defense and lackluster offense in the first half. They managed only two field goals to the Falcons’ two touchdowns. They would come back to win the game using their powerful passing attack–the same passing game that would end up being taking for granted by the season’s end.
The Falcons were just kind of bad.
Matt Ryan sure can command an explosive offense when he gets on a roll. However, he can also suck. In this game he managed to put up two interceptions (though they were tipped) while only throwing for 167 yards and 1 touchdown. His passer rating was a tragic 55.1 against one of the year’s worst passing defenses.
The Falcons won’t be this bad on Sunday. However, considering how they performed against the Bears and how well the Packers revamped pass rush played last week, this game just might get out of Ryan’s reach sooner rather than later. I know a few Packers on the defense who might have a grudge or two to settle from last year. A defensive victory would be soothing.
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers
December 8, 2014
Final: ATL-37 GB-43
The Packers were rolling into the playoffs as one of the best teams in the NFL. Green Bay was the capital of offense and winsome behavior. Aaron Rodgers smiled constantly. These were the halcyon days. But, this was a weird game. The score at halftime was 31-7 Packers and it seemed that they might just cancel the second half. Atlanta fans are sure glad they didn’t.
The Falcons stormed back against a lackadaisical Packer’s defense and scored before the two minute warning to bring the game back within a touchdown. This was all thanks to the talents of Matt Ryan and his receiving core. I’ll always remember this game as one of the last gasps of “Rowdy” Roddy White’s career and even more proof that Julio Jones is the best receiver in the world. Jones was targeted 17 times for 11 catches leading to a straight-up disgusting 259 yards and a score. That stat line should be a capital offense.
The Packers were able to sit on the ball and win the game, but it was not a fun experience for a fan who had gotten drunk in the first half (noticing a theme?) and very nervous in the second half. Matt Ryan scored all 4 of his touchdowns in the final two quarters once the heavy yoke of winning a big game had been removed from his psyche. A loose Ryan is a scary Ryan and it is possible this is the guy we’ll be seeing on Sunday. If that’s the case, then this will be the first big test of a much-improved(?) 2017 Packers defense.
Regardless of which Ryan we get (please don’t be 2016 Ryan), this game will likely be won on the ground. That’s why we really need both of our tackles out there. As of now, it is uncertain whether Bulaga or Bakhtiari will be playing for this Championship rematch. If that’s the case, all bets are off. Let’s just hope we can keep Aaron clean in the Dirty South. Cheers, y’all.