When the Green Bay Packers offense went up against the Atlanta Falcons defense on November 28th, QB Aaron Rodgers was able to pass (and run it himself) successful against them. However, RB Brandon Jackson and RB Dimitri Nance combined for 26 yards on 11 carries. It wasn't all their fault as the Falcons did a great job blowing up the Packers offensive line on running plays. Which was strange because the offensive line did a great job in pass protection, as they allowed only 1 sack and 1 quarterback hit during the entire game.
Because of their previous struggles against the Falcons run defense, I hadn't been expecting a major improvement from the offensive line, and I hadn't been expecting RB James Starks would be that productive against a very good Falcons defensive line.
Here's how the Falcons defense has played over the course of the season, and over the last five weeks:
|Opponent||Total Yards||QB Rating Against||Yards Per Carry Against||Points Allowed By Defense||Turnovers Forced Per Game|
The Falcons defense has been very consistent recently, which is surprising because they've held two very good offenses in check (Buccaneers and Saints) and haven't been much better against two very bad ones (Seahawks and Panthers). In fact, the Panthers (along with the Cardinals) are much worse than even the third worst offense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. Their stats should have been more dominant against the Panthers.
Second, they've done a very good job against the pass, while they've had a lot of trouble stopping the run, which is the exact opposite from how they played against the Packers back in November. Maybe they should, as Mike McCarthy called it, see if Starks can establish a hot hand and they can ride it to another 100 yard performance. This leaves all their options open.