G’day Falcons fans, and welcome back to the contribution I, in collaboration with fellow Aussie Falcons fan dunlagh, hope to be making to the Falcoholic. I’ll analyse the best case scenario for the Falcons, with what are, in my opinion, a few keys to victory, while dunlagh will play devil’s advocate and look at how the game will turn out if we play at our true worst.
Hey guys, sorry for the late post, dunlagh and I were both away this week. Nonetheless, we’re still a few days out from the Packers game, which will go a long way to defining how we end up in the playoff picture. A victory here will set us up for an excellent shot at the NFC title, and keeps us away from New Orleans (who had to fight hard to get a victory from the newly resurgent Cowboys). Our most recent meeting saw our 2008 team play a solid game and survive a late charge in Lambeau, and eventually come away with a 27-24 victory. This week we're in the dome, against a team with similar personnel as the Packers unit we faced in 08. Ryan’s amazing record at the Dome will be out on the line in this game, but I hope we can come away with a W and continue our 4 game win streak. The best case scenario for our duel with the Aaron Rodgers led Packers comes if the secondary generates turnovers, our offensive line continues their fine form and if we utilise our redzone trips.
Secondary generates turnovers: The Falcons defense isn’t exactly known for cracking down on the pass, yet they are ranked second in interceptions and turnover differential. Aaron Rodgers is currently working with a 19/9 TD/INT ratio, and has yet to fumble the football all season. Our secondary has come away with some big picks in the last few games, especially last week with C4 Moore picking off Sam Bradford on the 2 yard line in the last quarter. If our secondary can take away Green Bay possesions, we can have a far greater chance of scoring points against a team which has only allowed 10 points through 3 games. The Packers don’t rank highly in time of possession, and if Ryan and Turner are allowed to burn the clock, chances of the hot Packers offense putting up huge points is greatly minimised. Pick a few passes and suddenly the secondary will have a little more help from linebackers or even dropping Biermann back into an exotic coverage (I’m all up for another amazing pick 6 from #71). You can’t stop the Packers offense, but if we can minimise their T.O.P and reduce their field position, the Falcons will have a far better shot at one of the better teams in the NFC.
Offensive line continues its form: In the past few games, our offensive line has been rock solid. For all the complaints about Sam Baker he, along with the rest of the line, has really stepped up, and now the Falcons have allowed only 15 sacks (second least in the league). Not only did we hold the league leading Rams sackless last week, but our line has allowed only 2 sacks in the past 4 games. After shutting out the Rams from putting Ryan on the turf, the Falcons now face the new league sack leaders. If our offense line can give Ryan time to pick holes in the Packers secondary which, although opportunistic, isn’t exactly dominant against the pass. Former Falcons backup, Charlie Peprah, starts at safety for the Packers, and a little revenge would make me smile, however the threats of Woodson and Matthews have me a little more worried. If Todd McClure and co can keep Ryan upright, and generate holes for Michael Turner against the 18th ranked rush defense of the Packers (who have allowed over 110 yards per game), the Falcons will definitely have the advantage.
Utilise our redzone trips: This one is a short one, due to the weekly redzone posts which you can read here. Essentially, the Packers are the best defense in the league when it comes to points allowed, and have only allowed 10 in the past 3 games. Whilst usually strong in the redzone, last week against the Rams our offense stuttered slightly, which nearly cost us. If the Falcons end up in the redzone, we need touchdowns; field goals won’t get it done against an explosive Packers offense.
This will be one of our biggest challenges of the year, but a victory will really help the Falcons confidence, standings, playoff potentials and recognition. I expect a tough game which will come down to the last two minutes, but in the end if the Falcons can come away with the W it will be hard to make a case against us as NFC champion contenders. Sorry the post was late, and finally, be sure to check out dunlagh’s Worst Case Scenario here. Go Falcons!