Packers Vs Falcons: Five Bold Predictions For The Crucial Showdown In Atlanta
Four straight wins heading into the last week of November is exactly what the Green Bay Packers were looking for, as they try to isolate Matt Ryan and the Falcons on the road this week.
The game may not yet qualify as a "must-win"; however, the synopsis around the NFL is that this could be Green Bay's showcase victory.
The ferocious Packers defense, lead by Clay Matthews, has allowed a whopping total of 10 points in their last 12 quarters of play and looks to carry the momentum into Atlanta this week.
In the Matt Ryan era, the Falcons are 19-1 at the Georgia Dome, handling opponents left and right. Along with contributions from Michael Turner, Atlanta is a worthy opponent for the Green and Gold.
Rest assured, Sunday's matchup will be an arduous undertaking for Mike McCarthy and the Packers.
If the Packers are planning on coming home with a victory, they'll need big games from multiple players on Sunday.
Who will step up and surprise us all? Let's find out.
Aaron Rodgers Will Throw for 300 Yards, Multiple Touchdowns
In an already pass-happy offense the Packers have been able to establish thus far this season, Aaron Rodgers can breath easy knowing he will get his looks in on Sunday against the Falcons.
Against the Falcons' 24th-ranked pass defense, Rodgers and WR Greg Jennings will hook up a handful of times for impressive yardage.
Atlanta has also given up 18 touchdowns through the air this season, good (or bad) enough to rank them 10th-worst in the entire NFL.
Rodgers has thrown for 760 total passing yards in his last three games, to go with seven TD and no interceptions. Should that trend continue, the Packers' gunslinger could be catapulting the Packers into a first-round bye heading into the playoffs.
The Running-Backs Will Total Up Over 150 Yards
Although both Brandon Jackson and new additional RB Dimitri Nance only managed to pile up 76 total rushing yards against the Vikings last week, the Packers should be optimistic about the potential of the run-game against the Falcons this week.
Granted, Atlanta owns the league's sixth-best run-defense (95.4 yards/game), but Mike McCarthy will stress the run game early on. Establishing the run is Green Bay's number one priority.
The Falcons also surprisingly own the league's 10th-worst yards/carry average, at 4.3 per attempt. The Packers will key on the Falcons' run defense early on in Sunday's matchup.
While Brandon Jackson gets his regular amount of carries on Sunday, Mike McCarthy will also be implementing Dimitri Nance into Green Bay's run game.
Clay Matthews Will Shut Down Matt Ryan, Michael Turner
Think back to the last time Clay Matthews was a non-factor in a regular season game. Anything? I didn't think so.
As astounding has Matthews has been thus far in 2010, he has yet to reach his full potential.
Dominating blockers, abusing offensive linemen has been the name of the game for Matthews this season, and don't expect that trend to stop against Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
Sure, the offensive line of Atlanta has only given up 15 sacks this season (good enough to be sixth-best in the league); however, the protection scheme of the Falcons have only faced one tough test so far, coming against the Baltimore Ravens—a game in which the Falcons nearly lost, I might add.
The fact of the matter is that the Packers' defense is far superior to anything the Falcons have faced so far this season. Expect a big game from Dom Capers' savage defense come Sunday.
Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams Will Dominate
As much as the Green Bay defense is dominated by play from Clay Matthews, so are the contributions from future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson and future star Tramon Williams.
What the two have done this season for the Packers is truly a testament to how Green Bay's defense has grown together as a whole.
The two are the undisputed backbone of Dom Capers' successful defense.
Racking up eight interceptions and three force fumbles between the two of them is impressive enough to get Pro-Bowl consideration for both of the two.
As a corner-back, Woodson leads the team in solo tackles, with 52 on the season.
Roddy White has raked up nearly half of QB Matt Ryan's passing yards this season, and Charles Woodson will key on that fact. Still, look for Woodson to shut down Roddy White.
The Packers Will Come Away With the Victory
When it's all said and done, I believe the Packers will walk away with the victory in Atlanta, giving Matt Ryan only his second home loss as a professional quarterback, Green Bay will vault themselves atop the NFC.
The progress and development the Packers have shown this season is truly remarkable, to say the least. In fact, if not for two OT field-goal losses, Mike McCarthy's crew could be looking at a 9-1 record heading into Sunday.
Nevertheless, the Packers have dealt with the injuries, losses, and Brett Favre's "drama"—only to find themselves in a potential NFC Championship Game preview.
They key come Sunday will be Green Bay's ability to put pressure on Matt Ryan. Disrupting the Falcons' 13th-ranked pass-offense will certainly help in the Packers' efforts.
A loss isn't the end of the world, but could potentially spell trouble heading down the final stretch.
Regardless, the Packers should come away with the victory—vaulting them to 8-3.
Green Bay 27, Atlanta 24