The Atlanta Falcons have their toughest challenge of the young season against the Green Bay Packers, a perennial contender with a phenomenal quarterback and a solid roster. A win here puts the Falcons at 2-0 and on a great path for the rest of the season, with a schedule that only features a handful of games that look really rough on paper.
Here’s one concern and one big reason for confidence heading into tomorrow night’s game.
Feel confident about passing on the Packers
You have to worry about the Packers making life difficult for Matt Ryan by getting pressure up the middle, especially with Mike Daniels lurking on the interior of the defensive line. But the Falcons shouldn’t have any trouble throwing against the Packers, even so.
That’s because Green Bay, for all its quality up front, does not have an elite pass rush. They certainly do not have an elite secondary, something they’re making up for with their “Nitro” package, which throws six defensive backs into the mix. That’s probably your best chance of slowing down the Falcons passing attack, but Atlanta can beat you in so many ways and Green Bay has very few elite players back there to slow down Julio Jones, Austin Hooper, Tevin Coleman, and others with. I think Green Bay will have some success getting to Ryan and forcing a couple of bad throws, but ultimately they just don’t have enough to stop Atlanta the way they stopped a lousy Seahawks offense in Week 1.
Be worried about Aaron Rodgers
At the risk of playing up Aaron Rodgers and watching him disappoint—wait, that’s actually exactly what I want—he remains the single most dangerous player on the field for Green Bay. The Falcons have had a lot of success against him recently, but Rodgers is lethal because of his ability to improvise, make great throws under pressure, and extend plays with his legs. He’s a tough challenge even for this fast defense.
There’s almost no chance the Falcons will be able to make Rodgers a non-factor, so they’ll have to harass him, limit his time to throw, and generally make it difficult for him to be Aaron Rodgers. Chances are he’l do enough to keep Green Bay in it until the very end, even so.