Green Bay Offense (11 personnel w/ 3 WR's) vs. Atlanta Defense (Nickle Package):
- The personnel PFF has listed in our Nickle package I think is flat out incorrect. They have Campbell starting at DT next to Jarrett when I'm fairly confident in saying that the two DT's that will play every game will be Jarrett and Onyemata. So I am calling an audible in what is listed on PFF in that regard.
- With that said, I'll start there. From what I can see, the matchup of Onyemata and Jarrett vs. the entire interior OL group for Green Bay does not look good for them. They are weak at run blocking and we are good at run defense. To me this is a huge cornerstone for how this game will unfold. The run game that Green Bay showed last week will not be the same this week. We are not easy to run against up the middle. Then on top of that, their strength is pass blocking and our interior d-line's strength is pass rushing. The success of Jordan Love and the Green Bay RB corp will largely be determined by how well the interior OL can hold off our interior DL.
- From there it gets a lot more questionable. Our DE/OLB's do not matchup that great against their OT's. I do not forsee a jump in production from a edge group, and our pass rush on the outside probably won't have any major impact. I do see our group as setting the edge in run defense as serviceable, so once again, the Green Bay RB corp should have some tough sledding ahead, but the pass rush is not looking at a highly successful Sunday. As of now, I would reduce Dupree's snaps at edge and increase Campbell's snaps in his place. The Bakhtiari vs. Campbell matchup is much closer than the Bakhtiari vs. Dupree matchup, and the AK vs. Tom matchup doesn't even feel close. I fully expect Tom to dominate the snaps against AK.
- Our LB group is showing signs of growth, with Ellis continuing where he left off in 2022 and Andersen taking small but incremental steps forward. I think our best choice for producing a pass rush from people other than our iDL, is to let our EDGE players occupy blocks and get our LB's in the backfield. Specifically Andersen. Ellis is well above average in coverage and pass rushing. Allow Ellis to help cover a TE and set Andersen free on the passer. The matchup of Ellis vs their rookie TE Luke Musgrave should heavily favor Ellis. I would take that matchup all day.
- Their receivers vs. our CB's is a surprisingly even matchup. Terrell is back to his 2021 form according to his week 1 performance, so putting him on Romeo Doubs is the obviously call. On top of that assuming Okudah gets his first start as a Falcon, putting him on their rookie WR Wicks would probably favor Atlanta. Plus the best secondary matchup all week will be Dee Alford on Jayden Reed. All aspects of that matchup seem dead even. Size, athelticism, production, etc... this is one very even matchup. I have a feeling both sides will get their pound of flesh next week. Reed will get a good catch or two but Alford will get some good PD's and maybe even an INT out of it. That should be a football lovers matchup to watch.
- The biggest problem for Love should be the S tandem we have on the backend. Bates absolutely mugged Young last week. Stole his lunch money all day. What doesn't get talked about much is that Grant had a decent day too. I think these young QB's are learning the hard way that Atlanta has one legit deep secondary. I forsee Bates continuing his reign of terror on QB's in week two. I think Love is better than Young, and I doubt we see another 2 INT day, but I have a feeling JB3 is going to make Love really nervous on a couple of throws at a minimum.
Atlanta Offense (12 personnel w/ 2 TE's) vs. Green Bay Defense (Base 3-4):
- On paper, their defense is more formidable than Carolina's, and our offense was not as advertised. This one could get ugly for our offense if what we saw last week becomes a trend.
- Luckily their iDL vs. our iOL matchup is much less favorable for them as the same matchup is for us. They have a lot of talent up the middle and will be testing our iOL all day, but Bergeron, Dalman, and Lindstrom should be a solid test for Clark, Slaton, and Wyatt. I'm calling this one a stalemate, and simply saying that it is a 50/50 on every snap. This matchup favors the more consistent side, which I assume will be Atlanta, but there is no guarantees here. I do think their iDL will be tested with our run game in a way that Chicago did not, and we will have some measure of success on the ground.
- Once again though, it doesn't get any better on the outside. The Jake Matthews vs. Preston Smith matchup feels pretty even. I feel fairly confident that Matthews can hold his own here. The matchup that worries me is McGarry vs. Rashan Gary. I think McGary struggle with speed rushers more than power rushers, so Gary is a btter matchup than Burns was, but Gary is no slouch. This is interestingly the matchup I would monitor in the run game. Gary did not do well in run defense last week, and that just so happens to be McGary's strong suit. If I were Arthur Smith, I would consider running it at Gary and not away from him. Test their oZB potential to the right.
- The big difference in the matchups is here though. Their LB's are what we wish ours were. Quay Walker dominated last weeks game, and Devondre Campbell is Devondre Campbell. My gut says these guys will be covering Jonnu Smith and Kyle Pitts and that is a tall order. The numbers say that Walker and Campbell will probably erase Smith and Pitts with coverage, my gut says that isn't true. Whoever is covering Pitts is gunna have to bring their A game. I will say that these two will need a close eye by Nielson. They are both well above average pass rushers up the middle, and if I were them I would stop Pitts by blitzing LB's at Ridder rather than hoping for blanket coverage on Pitts.
- The matchup on the outside with their receivers vs. our CB's is ugly on paper. On paper Douglas and alexander will dominate London and Hollins. Now, I think I am not saying any sort of crazy biased fan speak, when I say that I doubt the numbers that London and Hollins are being measured by are accurate with what they are truly bringing to the table, but that is still what they put on the field last week. If I cam going strictly off of what thes matchups show in PFF, then I'm gunna say this is a going to be a ground and pound game for Atlanta. I have a feeling they try and open up the pass game more, but this might not be the best game for that based on the matchups presented to both London and Hollins.
- The deep secondary for Green Bay has an interesting duo. Darnell Savage is listed as being one of the best run stopping safeties in the league. He is okay in coverage but is one nasty run defender. I have a feeling that Robinson/Allgeier will be faced with Savage on multiple occasions, and Savage has a better shot than most to make a play. The biggest weakness on the Green Bay defense is with deep FS Rudy Ford. He is average at best, and if there is a shot for this pass game to get going, it would be for matchups deep against Ford. I would try and get either Jonnu Smith against him on seam routes due to the size difference, or get London matched up on him to increase London's odds of having a favorable matchup.
Takeaways and Predictions:
- I expect for both sides to try and follow through with the same gameplan. Both sides will want to force the young and inexperienced QB to put the game on their shoulders to win. Both wants to take away the strength of the other team which is the run game for both offenses. Both defenses want to stop the runs up the middle and make the QB pay for taking shots deep or over the middle with their LB's, and S's. The team that wins is the one who adapts best to that gameplan. The winner will either be able to overcome the opposing teams run defense, or actually cobble together a passing offense that allows for fewer run plays.
- I do expect Love to struggle with JB3. I think he could very well have another big game. Bates facing two consecutive QB's who have little to no NFL experience is a recipe for Bates to have a career best start to the season.
- Final score prediction is 28-24, with Atlanta getting a final scoring drive that puts the game away late. I do think this should be much more of a back and forth than what we saw with Carolina. Green Bay's more potent offense will be a test for numerous players on our defense, and their quality defense will do the same to Atlanta offense. I do think Arthur Smith has enough to work with that his coaching decisions are what will push Atlanta over the top in the end.