Curious about what to expect from the Packers when they face the Falcons on Monday Night Football? After putting in his time in the film room to prepare for Green Bay, Matt Ryan shared some thoughts with the Atlanta media about what the Falcons can expect from the Packers on Monday.
When you think of Green Bay's defense, you inevitably think of Clay Matthews. Matthews has shifted inside part of the time, but he's still very much a factor in the pass rush. "Obviously Clay is a really good player, and they kind of, the last four or five weeks, have kind of moved him inside a little bit, but they still get him onto the outside and pass rush and use him in a bunch of different ways because he's such a versatile player," Ryan said. "He's got a skill set that can pretty much line up anywhere. So we've got to identify where he's at."
Matthews isn't the only pass rusher the Falcons will need to keep track of on Monday. Julius Peppers, the former Panther, is having a really solid season for Green Bay. "They do a great job of combining [Matthews] and Julius Peppers in their pass rush and trying to single those guys up and create pressure that way," Ryan said.
Green Bay's secondary has reaped the benefits of a solid pass rush, and they've taken advantage with turnovers this season. "As a whole, I think the defense is playing very well. They're opportunistic," Ryan said. "I think they're maybe fourth in the league in turnovers and maybe first in interceptions--something like that. So it's a solid defense and a defense that's playing with a lot of confidence."
With that in mind, the Falcons are going to have to play disciplined football and not turn the ball over on Monday, and Ryan said it starts with him. "When you look at Green Bay as a whole, I think they're number one in the league in turnover differential. I think they're plus-15, something like that," Ryan said. "So obviously, they thrive on that, and their defense is opportunistic. They've got some ballhawks in the secondary, guys that can make plays. And that's one of the things we've got to focus on, ball security, and that starts with me. I've got to make good decisions in the pass game and be accurate with the football, and that's one of the points of emphasis for the week."
Ryan often draws a lot of comparisons to Aaron Rodgers. While Rodgers has been in the league longer than Ryan, they became starters in the same season. The Falcons went to Lambeau during Ryan's rookie season and beat the Packers. They beat the Packers at home during the 2010 season, too, but the tables turned in the 2010 postseason, and the Packers have had the upper hand since. As far as the battles between these two teams, Ryan said, "Sometimes those things get made out to be bigger than they are, but certainly our teams have had some good games in the past and have played, in the past, in important situations, and that's always fun."
Ryan also had some thoughts on what the Falcons' defense can expect from Aaron Rodgers on Monday. "He's a great player, and he's playing at a high level," Ryan said. "Their offense is playing at a really high level, and our defense is going to have their work cut out for them, but I'm confident they will do a great job."