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Falcons to watch today against the Green Bay Packers

Is the 2020 season over yet?

NFL: Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are making history, and they’re making it in the worst way possible. With the talent on this roster, this team should be at least 2-1. However, due to two major meltdowns in two consecutive weeks, this team looks like one of the weaker squads in the NFL.

At 0-3, it’s almost a certainty that this team isn’t making the playoffs, especially with Atlanta now lagging at least two games behind everyone in the entire NFC South. Tonight, the Falcons play a 3-0 Green Bay Packer team that has a quarterback who is still is in the prime of his career. That being said, Aaron Rodgers has actually had some difficulties against Dan Quinn led defenses, and Matt Ryan has had quite a bit of success against Green Bay. Who will need to show up for the Falcons to finally be on the win column for the 2020 season?

Matt Ryan

As stated earlier, Matt Ryan has had a fairly decent record against the Green Bay Packers. As of right now, Ryan is 5-4 against Aaron Rodgers since he’s entered the league and 3-1 since Coach Dan Quinn’s tenure as Head Coach. Although Rodgers is having a bounce back season, Ryan is as well.

With both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley expected to play today, Ryan will have to have a big day offensively for the Falcons to even have a shot against the Packers in Green Bay.

The entire defensive line

The defensive line for the Falcons has had its ups and downs, but there’s actually some good talent here. Against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, this collective unit is going to have to be menacing to pressure Rodgers as much as possible tonight. If Rodgers gets a chance to sit back and fire away against this secondary, this will get ugly very quickly.

Takk McKinley has already been ruled out this game, which is a bit of a blow, so the hope is that Dante Fowler, Jr. and Grady Jarrett are healthy enough to make an impact in the game. More importantly, they can’t take their foot off the gas against a future Hall of Famer, or tonight’s game won’t be any different than the last 3.

Jaylinn Hawkins

Due to Keanu Neal being ruled out, Jaylinn Hawkins is expected to see more significant playing time against the Packers tonight. A physical safety with good ball skills coming out of California, Hawkins will certainly get a trial by fire by one of the best QBs in the NFL for the past decade.

One of my biggest knocks on Hawkins coming out of college was his discipline when it came to tackling, so I certainly want to see him improve there. I will certainly be monitoring how he responds to what Rodgers and the Packers do schematically and how disciplined he is in open space. Remember, Hawkins is the only safety under contract next year, so seeing good things from him now would be a big deal for what’s ahead.

Saying that the Falcons are in must win mode is a complete understatement. What’s most infuriating about this team is they’ve taken control of games only to lose that control at the tail end of games. That is a clear sign of a lack of mental toughness, and that falls on everyone on the team, especially coaching.

Can this issue be corrected? Sure it can, but history is telling us that during Dan Quinn’s tenure, it simply won’t happen. There’s still a lot of football left to play, but things certainly don’t look good for the Atlanta Falcons. They need this win if anything’s going to change, and even then it’s a tough road.