Although the Green Bay Packers have faced their fair share of talented wide receivers through the first six games of the 2016 season, none of those players compares to the one who awaits them on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
Julio Jones is not just a dominant receiver - he's the most physically gifted wideout in the NFL right now and he has torched most of the secondaries that he has matched up with. He has four 100-yard games in seven contests so far this year, including the 12-catch, 300-yard explosion he put up on the Panthers' young, hapless secondary in week four.
Here's the thing, though - he has also been kept in check on occasion. The Broncos held him to just two catches and 29 yards on six targets, though Denver has an excellent secondary. What was much more shocking was what the Saints did to him - they focused on Jones and allowed him to catch just one of seven passes thrown his way for 16 yards. Granted, the Falcons still won 45-32, thanks in large part to the effectiveness of their running game and short passing attack. However, it is a sign that a dedicated team can minimize Jones impact; the question is at what expense?
Will the Packers be able to duplicate the Saints' success against the 6'4" receiver while maintaining their run defense? Perhaps rookie tackle Kenny Clark can be a key - he has been great against the run this year while providing a bit of interior pressure as well. He is profiled in today's Cheese Curds, along with several other pieces examining Sunday's game.
Disruption up front and more from Montgomery | Packers.com
Kenny Clark had one ridiculous series in particular last Thursday, as he blew up one run and chased down another to the sideline. Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery made several big plays both in the run and pass games.
Green Bay Packers TE Jared Cook on if he's ready to practice: 'I wish' - ESPN
Oh good. So much for that threat down the middle of the field. The thing about Cook, though, is that he has by and large been healthy throughout his career before this season.
Green and Bold: LaDarius Gunter vs. Julio Jones | Cheesehead TV
Gunter has played pretty well when given a full week to prepare with the starters. But when he was thrown in on short notice against the Cowboys, he struggled. Can he match up with the physicality of the Falcons' top wideout?
NFL odds 2016, Week 8: Saints, Packers underdogs, Patriots favorites on betting lines - SBNation.com
There was a time when we thought the Packers might be favored in every game this season. So much for that.
Snaps, Pace & Stats: Week 8 | PFF
The Packers and Falcons both rank in the top ten in offensive plays per game. Green Bay even ranked second among all teams in week seven with 81 total plays.
Falcons add two running backs, cut ties with guard Mike Person - The Falcoholic
Bummer - former Packer linebacker A.J. Hawk won't get a chance to play against the Packers, as he was released yesterday. Meanwhile, the Falcons added two running backs, likely with the expectation that Tevin Coleman will be out for Sunday's game.
Cutler on Fox's support: 'He doesn't have a choice' - NFL.com
This comment is simply hilarious and is just a perfect example of Jay being Jay.