Packers XLV

Pack Eases Into December with a Visit by the Fraudulent Falcons

Posted December 5th, 2014 @ 09:12pm

I know, I know, they torched the Cardinals last week. But c'mon, who wouldn't take a falcon over a cardinal in a fight. Besides, the Cards are in free fall mode, desperately needing a home win over the Chiefs to hold off the Seahawks and Niners.

Atlanta is the de facto leader of the wretched NFC South, but they come to Lambeau as two touchdown underdogs for all the obvious reasons. They haven't been a team you can trust on the road in the Matty Ice era and while they still have a couple of nice offensive weapons, their defense is offensive.

The Packers should have little trouble keeping their roll on, despite the extra weight on the bandwagon by much of the country: the Packers are now the Super Bowl favorites--a fun place to be, but pretty meaningless since we have a long way to go from here to there.

What opened the eyes of many was the stout play of the defense last week; able to contain the bruising run game and keep Brady in check when it really mattered. The Falcons are far less dynamic and versatile, relying on the ancient legs of Steven Jackson and the young, now-healthy legs of Julio Jones. Jackson finally cracked the century mark for the first time as a Falcon last week against the Cards, but he's on the back end and can't run away from anyone.

Matt Ryan will look often in the direction of Jones, who had a career day last week, with the absence of Roddy White. It looks like White will be back from the ankle injury, so if Sam Shields misses this game (still going through the concussion protocol...I just threw that in because I love writing 'concussion protocol').  Tramon Williams and Davon House will be charged with keeping tabs on them. With Casey Hayward keeping an eye on slot guy Harry Douglass, the Pack should be able to devote a lot of attention to applying a furious pass rush on Ryan. He no longer has reliable Tony Gonzalez to dump balls off to.

Mike Daniels, the most improved player on the defense, has missed practice all week with a back injury. If he misses this game, the unit takes a hit. It looks like Josh Boyd will return, but no one provides the burst up front that Daniels does. Look for the Falcons to test it with Jackson early and often.

Of course, the biggest talker this week has been the demotion of AJ Hawk, who was on the sidelines in the nickel for the first time in his career last week. Sam Barrington looked fresh and capable in his spot and looks like he will get a chance to take over. Though a team like Atlanta, without a dangerous tight end, might present the kind of matchup where Dom Capers will trot Hawk out there a bit more. Big picture, it looks like the end of the road for the Hawk era in Green Bay after the season.

Where the Pack really has the edge is when they have the ball. Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFC player of the month, makes his 100th start and needs 293 yards to break the record for the most yards in his first 100. Facing the 32nd ranked passing defense should help him get there. It's hard to see a way that the Falcons keep the Pack out of the end zone, even if they have improved a bit over the past month.

Mike Nolan's unit has 24 takeaways (third in the league), but they get very little pass rush unless they blitz and Rodgers feasts on the blitz. There's no one in the front seven who scares you--since DE John Abraham moved on  linebacker Sean Witherspoon suffered a season-ending injury. Former Gopher Rashede Hageman has shown some ability, but has been inconsistent and is likely not ready for a matchup like this one.

The Pack is completely healthy offensively and we all now how prolific they've been at home this season. The Falcons are 31st in sack percentage. Their leading sacker has 2.5. Rodgers will have time to survey the field and find the matchup he likes. And Eddie Lacy should find enough holes to cross the century mark.

If the Pack can contain Jackson and the Falcons' ground game, they should be able to keep the tempo of the game to their liking and coast at home. Keep an eye on Packer killer Devin Hester, too. He always seems to save a little magic  for his matchup with the Pack.

The Falcons are sick and tired of hearing that their division is no good and that whoever wins it won't deserve to be in the playoffs. They're likely to be focused and primed to show the nation they're not as bad as their record (which would be better if their coach's brain didn't freeze up like the Lambeau beer taps in January).

Packers 38  Falcons 24

 

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Comments (11):

I'll begin this segment with a slap on my back on two previous prediction/takes from the past. Before I deslocate my shoulder slapping myself on the back here are my 2 followups. First...a couple of years ago as we were appraching the draft ....since I'm a draft junkie that the Packers take in the second or third round a multipurpose guy from Kentucky named Randall Cobb. This was just taken from my research ...no website or other blog...we know how he turned out. Slap !! Slap !! Second....I was the first guy on this blog last year to say AJ Hawk was done. When he was drafted 5th overall in the draft he had an impressive career at Ohio State and combine numbers of a 4.45 forty and a 40" vertical. Real impressive physical numbers. He was for a while a serviceable LB but never that dominating as was hoped. Now its time to pass the torch. Sam Barrington will get the first chance as he played two thirds of the snaps against the Patroits and Capers was impressed with his tackling and coverage...something at age 30 Hawk can no longer do. Enough of the back slapping. For you Sabermetric type guys like I am here is some encoraging stats on HA HA Clinton Dix: First-round safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been everything the Packers hoped, locking down the starting job. Among safeties playing at least 75 percent of their defense's snaps, Clinton-Dix ranks fourth in the NFL with 12 catches allowed and eighth with 135 yards allowed, according to Pro Football Focus. He's one of eight safeties to not allow a touchdown this season. Clinton-Dix's 37 yards allowed after the catch are second in the league behind only Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Lets keep playing at a high level. GO PACK GO !!

on December 5th, 2014 at 05:09pm

Since we're in "patting one's self on the back" mode, I think most of you are aware of my feelings regarding free agency. And I vividly remembering many of you being on the "we gotta sign Steven Jackson" bandwagon. TT made the right move, and I was 100% behind it before and after he made the "no deal". So let me ask you this - would you trade Jackson straight up for Eddie Lacy right about now? :-)

on December 5th, 2014 at 05:40pm

Voice...I 'll give you a back slap on Jackson....but remember you were against signing Peppers so dont get your shoulder out of wack slapping your back too hard. GO PACK GO !!

on December 5th, 2014 at 09:58pm

Feeling too cocky I'm sure. Can't quite make 24 points out of the Falcons, unless they put up 10+ in junk time. Just hoping to see professional style dominance out of our Pack.

on December 6th, 2014 at 04:52pm

Had the Packers lost to the Patriots last Sunday I would have expected them to come out angry and torch the Falcons with a third 50 point game this season. But since the superb effort against New England I suspect they'll "play down" some on Atlanta this week.Not as far down as they did at Minnesota but they'll give a little more on defense and do a little less on offense but still come out with a decisive victory. THC's predicted score sounds about right.

on December 6th, 2014 at 07:15am

as long as were slapping ourselves on the back this week. You all know I do this better then all. some of u have told me that even THC. remember I said give up 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th rd pick to get JJ Watt. looks pretty good now,I never thought he would be as good as he is. WE TOOK SHERROD AT 32 THAT YEAR, HOW DID THAT WORK OUT? In 2103 I also wanted reid safety from s.f. he went to early.so I said ogeltree olb from georgia, playing very well right now for the rams, we got datone Jones. and harrison smith when we took perry, in 2012. it's in the archives. lastly, how does our boy borland look? we missed him by 4 picks last year, I really think TT would have took him if s.f didn't. this week I would be worried about let down if it was a noon game. It's MNF. they will be ready. but the falcons are playing well the last 2 weeks. roddy white should be back too and he seems to hurt us when we play them. we will play well . but it will be close 31-27 Packers.

on December 6th, 2014 at 11:06am

OSSG, it was either last week or the week before, I acknowledged my miscue on the Peppers deal, so that debt has already been paid. Larry, you were right on Watt being as good as he is, but NOBODY is worth giving up 4 picks to get, especially in TT world. You just don't give up over half your picks for one guy, ever (how's that strategy working out in Washington for RGIII?). But hey, it's all water under the bridge now. Even without Watt, the Packers are in a better position. Don't forget - with Watt on board, Houston was 2-12 last year, and is only 6-6 this year. 9-3 right about now sounds a whole lot better. I'd rather not have the Packers draft in the top 5 for a long time to come. Best case scenario...the Packers are drafting at #32 this spring. :-)

on December 6th, 2014 at 11:21am

ok Voice. I hear your opinion, But your wrong. U give me a game changer and possible MVP this year for sherrod, cobb,alex green, and we traded our 4th rd pick to denver for DJ williams TE in the 5th rd . cobb is only one left. if we didn't draft cobb, they would have probably signed jennings. not close, Give me watt any day. I would like to hear what the others think on this too. i will bet you any Gm would take Watt for those 4 picks, and only cobb left now. sorry your wrong, still love your opinions though.

on December 6th, 2014 at 12:10pm

Larry, I have to say I have actually enjoyed your comments and writing a lot more this year then in the past. And sure it's easy to say you are right on that particular deal, if would come down exactly that way. But to do that deal at that time, well TT wouldn't be TT then. It would be such a change in philosophy that I can't imagine in it. He has a system and he's sticking with it and it is working. You do something like that, man, you got no system , no path, chaos, and suddenly the Packers suck. It's just never as cut and dry as we could have done "this" instead. Now, Here's to hoping you are wrong again and we thump the Falcons. I really hope we thump the Falcons. ;) GO PACK!

on December 7th, 2014 at 10:04am

It's the morning before the big Monday night game with the Falcons, and I just wanted to throw out some random thoughts going forward. First of all, to OSSG, Larry, LDF, Packerlifer, THC, and some others I may have missed (yes, and I'll include Cane as well)...a big thanks to all of you who make this blog what it is - a fun place to check out and swap opinions. It doesn't matter that perhaps we more often disagree than agree, because in the long run, it doesn't matter. It almost has that feel of everyone gathering around a table in a corner bar someplace, and having the pitchers of beer coming at regular intervals. It's great - I love it. Let's keep it going! Second - I'm both surprised and not surprised that the 49ers have fallen off the way they have. I won't say that Kaepernick appears to be a bust, but it sure looks like he's more a product of the Harbaugh system than anything else. If Jimmy goes, so does Kaep. Third - Yesterfday's bigges surprise to me was how the Saints just imploded against The Panters...AT HOME, no less. Didn't see that coming. And fourth - After an early season swoon, it looks like the Seahawks are in the groove again, and could pose the biggest challenge in the playoffs. But if the Packers win out, the road to Glendale goes through Lambeau. The Seahawk may be tough, but the Pack can handle them this time around. I say BRING 'EM ON!!!

on December 8th, 2014 at 09:46am

Hey Lynndickeyfan . thanks for the remarks. i do hear ya on u can't do it all the time 4 for 1, but the pack had just won the super bowl, and had a lot of guys coming back from IR. and we didn't need all those new daft picks, we had a lot of guys coming back too. so I thought the time was right, and for once I was. Voice, I know what your thinking, I wish someday we could all meet and have a beer with THC and shoot the BS.

on December 8th, 2014 at 12:21pm

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