Week 2 Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At Atlanta Falcons

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons carries the football in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Quarterback
    Aaron Rodgers did not have his best game in the NFC title game against the Falcons, and he will attempt to turn that around here. Rodgers is one of the smartest players and best leaders in the game, and he knows that last year’s NFC title game loss to the Falcons can’t be overcome with a win in the second game of the regular season.
    The Falcons barely escaped with a road win against the Bears in Week One, and they should play with greater effort and motivation in this game. Matt Ryan had his way against the Packers in the NFC title game, and he should be on top of his game here as the Falcons open the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Offense
    Ty Montgomery has proven to be a solid running back since being moved to that position, but he must show that he can have a big game against a quality opponent after running for 54 yards on 19 carries in Week One against Seattle. Jordy Nelson is a dangerous No. 1 receiver who should be able to get open and make big plays, while Randall Cobb is also dangerous.
    The Falcons were not on top of their game against the Bears, and some of that may have had to do with this game. Devonta Freeman should lead a much sharper effort against a much better opponent, and he is dangerous as a runner and a receiver. Julio Jones is unstoppable when he is on top of his game, while Mohamed Sanu knows how to get open. TE Austin Hooper is a dangerous playmaker.
  • Defense
    This could be a difficult assignment for the Packers because they did not make a lot of changes in the offseason and the Atlanta offense clearly won the battle in last year’s NFC title game. Outside linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews have the speed and instincts to make big plays, while Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has become a game-changing free safety.
    The Falcons improved quite a bit on defense last year, as they were much stronger than they had been in the past. Atlanta used to have problems with bigger and more powerful teams that could wear them down in the past, but that’s no longer the case. Vic Beasley is an excellent pass rusher while Grady Jarrett can win the battle against the interior run.
  • Special Teams
    The Packers are not known for their coverage teams, but they can occasionally break the big play on punt and kickoff returns and this would be a good game for that to happen. Mason Crosby is a dependable FG kicker, but rookie Justin Vogel is an unproven punter.
    The Falcons usually get the job done with their coverage teams, and that can give them an edge in this game. Matt Bryant is one of the most dependable placekickers in the game, and Matt Bosher is a strong-legged punter who dropped 21 of 44 punts inside the 20 a year ago.
RESULTS
This game will have both teams’ attention, but playing their first game in their brand-new stadium may mean more to the Falcons than revenge does for the Packers. Green Bay can plant a seed of doubt with their opponents, but it won’t reverse last year’s results.

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