Atlanta Falcons Vs. Green Bay Packers
Chase Irle: Week one may lack some drama against what is expected to be a lowly Bears squad. That should not be the case in the Falcons home opener in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta routed Green Bay in last year’s NFC Championship game, jumping out to a 31-0 lead early in the third quarter and never looking back on their way to the Super Bowl.
They also played in week 8 of last year’s regular season, in which was a much more thrilling matchup.The Packers would score a touchdown and convert a two-point conversion to go up six, but the Falcons would respond with a dominant drive to score the game winning touchdown. This game should be much more like that one than the NFC Championship game.
The Packers defense should be much improved, mostly due to health, and some of their additions on that side of the ball in free agency and the draft. However, that unit is still going to have a hell of a time dealing with Matt Ryan and this Falcon offense. They could have put up sixty on the way to last year’s Super Bowl if they wanted to.
The key for Atlanta will be, as it always is against Green Bay, finding a way to stop that bad man, Aaron Rodgers. Despite Matt Ryan’s MVP season, Rodgers is easily the best QB in the league right now. He should have a terrific line protecting him and a load of weapons to throw to. It will be the first test for this up-and-coming Falcons defense, and perhaps the hardest one they will have to face all season.
When it comes down to it this should be a suspenseful game that comes down to the last possession. I think it actually winds up being a little lower scoring than people think, and the Falcons defense is able to get enough stops at home to win the first ever game in their spectacular new stadium, 26-24.
Falcons Record: 2-0
Michael Arkin: I have the Falcons beating the Bears handily in Week 1, and now here comes a test right out of the gate for this team. In Week 2, they open up the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the runner-up in the NFC in 2016, the Green Bay Packers. This will be nationally televised on Sunday Night Football on NBC (Al and Chris are the best on TV), and this might be one of the most viewed games of the 2017 year.
Aaron Rodgers will lead his team into Atlanta for the first time since getting dismantled in the NFC Championship, as he and his team will have revenge on their minds. Rodgers is one of the most elite quarterbacks we have in the NFL today, and he will have his receiving core back, while also adding veteran tight end Martellus Bennett. The Packers will be much more healthy this time around, and the will have a much better gameplan heading into Atlanta.
I do not expect the Falcons to offensively dominate the Packers like they did before, as previously stated many of their players were injured. Green Bay will be getting many of their guys back, and will have a full proof plan in stopping Julio Jones. Expect to see Jones doubled covered, whether the Packers go man or zone. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix might have to play over the top of Jones in order to try to limit his looks from Ryan.
Just like the week before, the Falcons offensive line will have their hands full with pass-rushing specialists such as Nick Perry, Mike Daniels, and Clay Matthews. Daniels is a handful in the inside, and he might be seeing many double teams. Matt Ryan will play a great game, but I see Austin Hooper having a career type of game Sunday Night, and teams will see the Falcons have a young tight end that is not just very versatile, but also a game-changer.
This will be a close game, and Aaron Rodgers had the ball in Week 8 of 2016 to come back and try for a field goal. His team turned it over on downs and Ryan ended up taking a knee to run the clock out. It will come down to Ryan, as he will have to lead his team down the field for Matt Bryant to attempt a game winning field goal.
Prediction: Falcons 28, Packers 27
Falcons Record: 2-0