This week, we’re changing it up a little. Dunlagh had my back last week, and covered for me whilst I got up to some alcohol induced escapades, so this week it’s his turn to hit the town while I cover the Worst Case. This is only my second worst case scenario ever, so it’ll either be waaay too positive, or waaay too bleak. Let me know what you think in the comments. This is the second part to the Best Case Scenario, which can be read here.
Flipping it to the Packers
The Packers are the defending World Champions. They’re there for a reason – they have talent at WR, a great group of defensive players led by Clay Matthews, a quarterback who is easily top 3 in the league regardless of how you look at it (I’ve got him at #2 behind Brady I would say), and an excellent understanding on the field. At the moment, I’d say a win against the Packers represents a win against the best team in football. They’ve softened up a little in the secondary this season, but they make up for that with great pressure up front and an offense that can put up more points than some sides do in a month. They’re not unbeatable, but they definitely have a huge edge going in to this one. This week’s worst case scenario is: this.
In all seriousness, this week the worst case scenario comes if Rodgers settles down, the O-line catches turnstyle syndrome and the special teams don’t return to 2010 standard.
Rodgers settles down: As I mentioned in the Best Case, Aaron Rodgers can make plays with his legs. Behind Vick I’d say he’s the most athletic quarterback in the league by far. However, he’s also one of the best passers in the league, and we’ve all seen what he can do around the goalline. I don’t need to say it anymore really – Aaron Rodgers is an excellent quarterback. If he can get into a rhythm, or can find a weakness in a consistently run play, then there’s no stopping him. Rodgers threw no picks in either of our meetings last year, to go along with his 4 touchdown passes. Not to take anything away from Jordy Nelson, but I’d never heard of him before our matchups last year. He tore us up, as did most of the receivers lining up in the slot. Our woes against slot receivers are well documented, with the battle for the nickel corner spot in training camp resulting in a FA pickup rather than a clear victor. If Rodgers locks in on one receiver, chances are it’s not because he has them in his fantasy team. If we see one bloke getting a lot of catches, an adjustment needs to be made, or it’ll be long day for the secondary.
The O-line catches turnstyle syndrome: Just like ‘speed plays’, ‘turnstyle syndrome’ is a term I use to describe something which already has a name. The actual name of turnstyle syndrome is absolutely god-awful O-line play. And that’s what we’ve had for the majority of this year. It appears that the Falcons may have rushed McClure back too soon in an effort to keep Matt Ryan alive (selfish if you ask me), as now he has to sit out his third match since the moon landing. I was actually ok with Joe Hawley’s play, I didn’t want his head as some did, but that being said he (and the rest of the O-line) will need to step it up. Injuries or not, the Packers defence is still a formidable one, with a lot of talent in the front 7. I fully expect to see Raji record 2 sacks, but that isn’t the worst case. Worst Case for me is around the 6 sack mark, which I can realistically see happening if we play howe we’ve been playing in the trenches. Last season the Packers recorded 2 sacks in the first meeting, and 5 in the playoff matchup, and both of those lines had Dahl and McClure in them. We’ll really need to see a lift from the front 5, and Reggie Kelly if he’s out there to block, otherwise I’ll be getting a Redman jersey to celebrate our new franchise quarterback. RIP Ice.
Sepcial teams don’t return to 2010 standard: Special teams was one of the consistent bright spots of last year. Whilst maligned, Koenen usually gave us good field position and an average of 68 fair catches per game, Weems was in Pro Bowl form, and our coverage unit usually got it done inside the 25. Flip it to this year – Bosher is even more maligned and doesn’t even get us fair catches, Weems looks tentative in the return game and our coverage unit only seems to make plays when the returner decides, against logic, to return it from the end zone. Weems returned a 40 yarder which changed the game in week 12, and a 103 yard kickoff return for a TD in the playoffs. We really need to see a performance like that from Weems, if not for the points then at least for the field position. I don’t have any numbers for this, but it seems like we’ve had at least 1 drive per game where we’ve run a play inside the 5. That comes down to Weems making a good decision and not letting punts landing at the 25 bounce all the way back. You can’t help excellent punts that pin us down, but when it’s on the returner foolishly letting the ball bounce there’s either a coaching or a player error. If we’re starting drives inside the 20, let alone inside the 10, I have very little hope for the game.
The same is true for the Packers offense. I was patient with Bosher, but he’s had his chances in my books now, so if he doesn’t turn in a solid performance this week I’ll sign the get-out-of-town petition gladly. If they’re allowed to start their drives around the 30 or 35 for the majority of their drives, there will be no way to limit the points. Once Rodgers gets into the redzone he is a beast. If he’s only got to go 50 yards to do it, instead of 70 or 80, then there’s not much chance that we’ll limit their score. If I could have this game go any way, it’d be that we win with a low score rather than a high 30s shoot out. That comes down to field position. Worst case for us here is clearly if Bosher can’t connect with his punts, can’t force the occasional inside 10 and if Weems phones it in again.
Ok, so that was my attempt at the worst case for this game. As I said in the best case, I’ve been getting more excited for this game as the week goes on, and I’m also cautiously optimistic that the fire in the Falcons’ belly will at least spark them into some life. Whether we win or not is a different matter, but I think we might be able to watch some good Falcons football this week. I’m praying that the worst case doesn’t come true, but if it does, remember – 2-3 isn’t the worst start in the world, and the Green Bay went 3-3 last year, so it’s too early to throw in the towel. Dunlagh will be back next week, apologies for the lateness of the article. Thanks for reading, discuss below and go Falcons!