We've had a lot of cross-blog content this week, which has been great. I'll add to the pile with these five questions with VermontCubsFan, all-around good guy and historian at Acme Packing Company.
VermontCubsFan: Well, with the way the Packers match up on defense, they'll get (cornerbacks) Tramaine Williams and Sam Shields to match up on the wide receivers. They have Micah Hyde in the secondary, as well, and they also upgraded the secondary in the offseason when they cut MD Jennings, who couldn't cover anybody.
Much of the success from the Packers lately has been trying to shut down the top receiver for opposing offenses, and they also have Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to also help shore up the defense. My gut feeling is that while Williams, Shields and Clinton-Dix may not stop the receivers, they can all slow them down at least a little. They did that against the Patriots with Gronkowski, who is a matchup nightmare running rampant, but that's about it. The other receivers didn't really do much.
Dave Choate: Aaron Rodgers has a pretty favorable matchup here. Desmond Trufant is a good cornerback, but the Falcons don't really have a pass rush. How do you expect him to respond to having time in the pocket, and who is going to be his favorite target?
VermontCubsFan: Who is going to be his favorite target is open to debate. He has many favorite targets. You can try to, as the Patriots found out last Sunday, take away Nelson and take away Cobb, and you have Davate Adams and (tight end) Richard Rodgers, and you also have Eddie Lacy coming out of the backfield. My guess is the Falcons will try to pair up Trufant on either Nelson or Cobb, but that still creates a matchup nightmare, as that leaves one of the other top receivers on the Packers free to terrorize the secondary.
Dave Choate: What can you tell us about the Packers defense, and how they plan to stop the Falcons potentially high-powered offense?
VermontCubsFan: The defense these days is most full of nobodies. Clay Matthews is Clay Matthews. But I would definitely be watching players like Julius Peppers, who has had several return touchdowns this year. Watch Mike Neal and Mike Daniels on the defensive line. They teamed up for a critical sack this past Sunday against the Patriots. That sack drove the Patriots back and caused that field goal shank with about two minutes left to go in the game.
There are several players who, while they may not be superstars, definitely should not be discounted. Julius Peppers is still a force, even though he's getting up there in years.
Dave Choate: If this game comes down to a critical kick—and I'm not expecting it to, for the record—how much confidence do you have in Mason Crosby? He's been sort of an up-and-down kicker through his career.
VermontCubsFan: I have a fair bit of confidence in Mason Crosby. In 2012, he had a very lackluster season, missing field goals all over the place. But the Packers stuck with him and showed confidence in him, and he has rebounded since then. He doesn't always get the critical kicks—in fact, he missed one this past Sunday—but he's turned into a very reliable field goal kicker ever since his miserable 2012 season. The Packers even brought somebody in to battle him for the kicking position, but he won the battle. He's rewarded their confidence with becoming a much more consistent kicker, ever since then.
Dave Choate: Finally, what's your prediction for this game? Obviously, I'm pretty down on the Falcons chances in this one, but looking to see how you think this is going to turn out. And, as a bonus, how you think the rest of the Packers season will turn out?
VermontCubsFan: Well, this game is in Lambeau in December, and Lambeau is one of the toughest places to play. The Patriots were even worried about going to Lambeau. Honestly, I don't really see many ways that the Falcons can pull this one off. They might keep it close for a while, but I don't see them pulling it off. My prediction is something along the lines of Packers 34, Falcons 17, or Packers 34, Falcons 20.
For the rest of the season, I don't really see anybody who can slow down the Packers. The Packers are at Buffalo next week, and Buffalo's faded since their early start. Tampa Bay has really struggled, and they finish at home against the Lions. The Lions to some degree have faded, but that game against Detroit could be one to watch, as that might determine playoff seeding and maybe even the division championship when all is said and done.