Preview: Atlanta at Green Bay

As we all look forward to the start of the QB Matt Flynn era, let's take a look at how he might do against Atlanta.

Flynn and rookie QB Brian Brohm both had some very bad games during the preseason, but Flynn had a good finish in the preseason game against Tennessee's backups so he did deserve the backup QB job. Still he looked awful more often then he looked good during the preseason, so I'm not optimistic he's put it all together by sitting on the sidelines during the first four regular season games. At least he'll have all week to get ready.

Team rankings from Football Outsiders.com:

Teams Run Offense Pass Offense Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 30 15 29 3
Atlanta 3 18 15 24

Atlanta is average to below average overall, but they are an exceptional running team. And the Packers have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. The collapse of the Packers' run defense has been one of the most surprising things this season. It's basically the same defensive front seven as last season. DT Corey Williams was traded to Cleveland, but he only started to play after DT Johnny Jolly was hurt. Now Jolly's back, but his return alone hasn't made a difference. DE Cullen Jenkins is a huge loss as a pass rusher, but his backups DT Mike Montgomery and rookie DE Jeremy Thompson are similar run stoppers. The biggest difference I've noticed this season is the lack of big plays by LB Nick Barnett, who has been almost silent. He's 3rd on the team in tackles, but statistically he's had a similar season to LB Brady Poppinga, and Poppinga was always seen as the weak link on defense.

Outside of the secondary and WR Greg Jennings, the Packers played horrible last week in Tampa, but still almost escaped with a victory. Unfortunately Tampa isn't a good running team and couldn't expose the Packers' weak run defense like Atlanta can. Even if Flynn has a good game, I see him standing a lot on the sidelines as RB Michael Turner and RB Jerious Norwood run for a lot of 1st downs. The Packers' great pass defense won't help if Atlanta keeps handing off the ball. This doesn't look like a winning matchup for the Packers, and the next win might not come for at least another week.

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