The Atlanta Falcons dispatched a division opponent in Week 1 to break their season-opening losing streak and get to 1-0, but a tougher test awaits in Week 2. Fresh off an eerily similar victory over the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers head to Atlanta for the first matchup between these two teams since 2020. With a new quarterback in Jordan Love, this is far from the same Packers team the Falcons faced all those years ago.
Here at The Falcoholic, we like to think we keep you incredibly well-informed on all things Falcons. We’re not nearly as diligent in covering the Packers, so I’ve enlisted the help of Green Bay expert Justis Mosqueda. Justis is the community producer over at Acme Packing Company, SB Nation’s site covering all things Green Bay Packers.
I brought five questions to Justis on a variety of topics, including how Jordan Love looked in Week 1, the injury status of key players, and how Green Bay’s defense will try to stop Atlanta’s offense.
1) Jordan Love seemed to have had a terrific debut as the new face of the Packers. How do you think Love performed, and how confident are you in his ability to continue on that trajectory in Week 2?
Justis Mosqueda: He was a little up and down. A lot of yards were gained on two throws: A toss to tight end Luke Musgrave deep down the field after a fumbled center-quarterback exchange and a yards-after-catch tear by running back Aaron Jones on the play where he pulled his hamstring. He did a good job of running the offense, but it seemed like something weird happened on about every fifth play. He’s still a young quarterback, and we’re just hoping that he doesn’t repeat his mistakes.
2) Aaron Jones is awesome and was my fantasy football MVP in Week 1. It looks like he got a bit roughed up during the game, and there are a number of other key players who might be questionable for Week 2 (Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Quay Walker). What’s your level of concern for the availability of these players?
JM: I’m writing this before injury reports have come out, but I believe that Jones, Doubs and Reed will play. Doubs was on a pitch count last week and Jones/Reed were injured during the Bears games. Jones said he didn’t “pull” his hamstring but just got it “bit” and that it’s not a problem moving forward. Reed had a cramp, apparently. Walker is going to be in concussion protocol, though, the team hasn’t officially said that he had a concussion last week. Watson is tricky, as he didn’t practice last week and was ruled out on Friday. I’m most concerned that Walker and Watson wouldn’t play.
3) Green Bay’s defense seemed to do a great job of putting pressure on Justin Fields and limiting the Bears passing attack. Atlanta had struggles passing the ball and protecting the QB in Week 1. Should Falcons fans be concerned about this matchup?
JM: Maybe! Green Bay has four cornerbacks they seem confident in and they have five real deal edge rushers. For perspective, Lukas Van Ness — the 12th overall pick in last year’s draft — is the Packers’ fourth outside linebacker option right now and ran down Justin Fields for a sack last week. The pass defense (outside of safety) is certainly a strength of the defense, if not the entire team.
4) On the other side, the Packers seemed to struggle to stop the Bears rushing attack, allowing over 120 rushing yards and over 4 yards per carry. The Falcons will be bringing one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL and arguably the best RB duo in Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. How do you feel about the Packers ability to slow down Atlanta’s run game?
JM: I’m scared, Kevin. I’m scared. Rudy Ford, who “won” the starting safety battle this summer, was found on the ground throughout most of Week 1. I don’t think he’s very good and I’m not sure how he’s going to handle so many direct runs at him with Atlanta’s scheme. Outside of Fields’ scrambles to the edge, most of the yards that Chicago gained last week came after tackle attempts on runs and screens. Tackling is still not the strength of this Packers’ defense.
5) The Packers are currently 2-point road underdogs against the Falcons. What’s your prediction for Week 2’s game?
JM: I’m going to go with the Packers here, only because I’m a little more confident in their quarterback and pass-defense situations. If they would have let Ridder throw a ball a little more last week, maybe I’d call this one a toss-up, though.
Many thanks to Justis Mosqueda for taking the time to answer my questions. You can follow him on Twitter at @JuMosq, and if you’re in the mood for a Packers perspective on things, follow Acme Packing Company at @acmepackingco.
Looking for more Falcons-Packers coverage? Check out our Dirty Birds & Brews game preview show.