Worry about Green Bay running
A week ago, the Falcons held the Ravens to 159 passing yards, the third straight game where an opposing quarterback couldn’t manage over 200. That triumph has come against some mediocre passing offenses, yes, but it has also come as Desmond Trufant has righted the ship, the Falcons have stabilized a bit in the secondary and at linbacker, and as the pass rush has occasionally done something. They’ve had no such luck against the run.
Over their last four games, the Falcons have surrendered 207, 150, 132 and 211 rushing yards with a combined four touchdowns and an opposing yards per carry average well over five yards. Dan Quinn savaged the defensive line’s “terrible” performance against backs this season, but the truth is the entire defense has been complicit in these failings.
The Packers aren’t the league’s best ground game by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re perfectly capable of continuing the trend. They haven’t gone over 100 yards in any of their last three games, but they had a four game run earlier in the season and they went for nearly 200 against the Miami Dolphins, who are at least as capable as Atlanta is. Especially with Rodgers’ struggles, I’m worried the Packers will elect to get their ground game going, and I’m worried the Falcons won’t be able to stop them, making for a long, dull game yet again.
Feel confident about being frustrated
Look, we haven’t been here in a little while, so we’ve got to slip back into being fans of a team that is out of contention and looking lousy. The level of frustration with this Falcons team in 2017 seems downright quaint now, given that they managed to roll into the playoffs despite their flaws. There’s no such silver lining with Atlanta in 2018, and we aren’t going to have much to feel excited about until the 2019 offseason at this point.
So the only thing I’m really confident about heading into this game is that we will be frustrated. We will be frustrated with the offense somehow, whether it’s the passing game or the ground game or the state of the offensive line, and it seems doubtful that the Falcons will suddenly return to scoring over 30 points per game. We’ll definitely be frustrated with the defense, which will do enough to keep the Falcons in it but not enough to make us feel like they’re actually coming around. And we will be frustrated, again and again and no matter how this team plays, with the fact that such a promising season could go so very sideways.
So yeah, keep that in mind.