This Sunday is a big matchup between the Packers and Falcons. The Falcons have the advantage in playing at the Georgia Dome, where they are 18-1 with Matt Ryan at the helm. The Falcons are coming in averaging 31 points per game over the last 4 games (Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and St. Louis). The Packers are coming in allowing only a combined 10 points over the last 3 games (NYJ, Dallas, and Minnesota). Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses, and now based upon my discussions with Falcon fans at The Falcoholic, I’m going to show how we match up. Seeing how the Packers are coming in hot and how they generally play in the 2nd half of each season, I think the Packers come out with a victory in a very close game. More after the jump...
When the Falcons have the ball, they will rely on a balanced attack. Michael Turner will pound it at us often, with most carries going to the right side of the line. Atlanta has one of the best run blocking units in the NFL. Their strength on the OL for run blocking is on the right side, as is with most teams. However, they dominate more than most teams. RT Tyson Clabo is a converted OG. He’s a big reason why their running game is so successful. While they pound the ball very well, they also match that with a highly effective passing game. Matt Ryan does a tremendous job of getting rid of the ball quickly. They run a lot of short passing routes to move the chains. After talking with them, their offense sounds very much similar to GB’s offense in the 2nd half of the season last year. It’s a strategy to move the chains, keep the defense on the field, and counter an average at best pass blocking unit. The OL doesn’t get much slack on this con because of Ryan’s ability to get rid of the ball. RT Clabo is perhaps the biggest reason for any criticism. So far, he has allowed 4 sacks this season and many more pressures. He will be lining up against Clay Mathews, who leads the NFL in sacks. Dom Capers might counter this quick passing game with more press coverage. However, Falcons fans were quick to note their WR’s are very good at beating that to get big plays. Roddy White is the most effective at shedding it and Harry Douglas has good speed, so if you miss him, it’s a big play for Atlanta.
Atlanta runs a bend but don’t break defense. They are very good against the run, and have a ball hawking secondary. They are not big, they are not hard hitters, but they are fast. Their DT’s do a nice job both stopping the run and applying pressure up the middle. Last year DT Jonathan Babineaux led the team in sacks. Their other DT position is heavily fixated on a rotation between Peria Jerry, Corey Peters, and Vance Walker. None of the 3 stand out the way Babineaux does, but Jerry is apparently starting to get into form after missing all of last season due to injury. Jerry plays the most on passing downs. John Abraham will be active for this game, and he is a menace to opposing QB’s. So, as long as Rodgers is careful with the football and doesn’t throw any interceptions, he should beat this defense. He certainly needs to get rid of the ball quickly though or he will pay the price.
If you want to see some other comments the Falcons fans made, you can click on this link: http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2010/11/22/1830833/ask-a-packer-fan.