Green Bay Packers: 4 Things To Watch in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons
The Green Bay Packers will travel to the Georgia Dome this weekend for the third time in nine months for a rematch of the 2010 Divisional Playoffs.
Both the Packers and the Falcons were expected to be the cream of the crop in the NFC again this season, but only one of the two teams has lived up to the hype.
The Falcons hope to avenge their embarrassing season-ending loss last January, but the Super Bowl champions have won 10 straight games. Here are five things to watch as the Packers look to go 5-0 for the first time since the Lombardi era.
Will Bulaga Be Back?
Bryan Bulaga missed last week's blowout of the Broncos with a knee injury and second-year Marshall Newhouse stepped into the right tackle role.
Newhouse played well at times, but allowed two easy sacks to rookie Von Miller. He's shown he can play well enough if Bulaga can't return to face the Falcons and, thankfully, the man he's going up against hasn't been much of a pass-rushing force this season.
Ray Edwards has no sacks on the season and should be easier to contain for whoever suits up for the Packers at right tackle.
Can the Packers Secondary Stop Giving Up Big Plays?
It may be hard to believe that the Packers' secondary is currently second to last in the league in passing yards allowed, but big pass plays have been the defense's Achilles' heel so far this season.
It was somewhat excusable when Drew Brees gashed the Pack for over 400 yards, but a problem became evident when rookie QB Cam Newton did the same thing the following week.
The secondary played better against the Bears and Broncos, but both teams gained big chunks of yards through the air that led to touchdowns on several deep strikes.
Will Charlie Peprah finally settle in as Nick Collins' replacement against the Falcons? Will Morgan Burnett find a way to eliminate the mistakes that have kept him from truly breaking out this season?
Matt Ryan and his top three targets of Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White will set out to answer those questions with an emphatic no.
Will Matthews Finally Record a 2nd Sack?
Clay Matthews is currently on pace for a total of four sacks this year after recording at least 10 a season since entering the league.
Blockers flock to him like 13-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert, making it extra difficult for the relentless playmaker to actually bring the opposing quarterback down.
He's been close on many occasions and is still having a tremendous impact on the game, but his sack stats don't show it.
The Falcons offensive line has been unstable and Matt Ryan has been sacked 13 times in four games. Matthews should have a good shot to grab that long-awaited takedown.
Will Aaron Rodgers Have a Letdown?
He has a league-best 124.6 passer rating and everything has seemed to go his way. But don't all good things come to an end? Rodgers is due for a letdown eventually, right?
His hot streak truly began the last time these two teams met. Will we see a full circle ending on Sunday night?