After back-to-back choke jobs, the Falcons head to Lambeau 0-3 to face the 3-0 Packers. This matchup isn’t as sexy as it would have been had the Falcons closed out their games against the Cowboys and Bears, but that just makes it all that more important to win. A loss in Week 4 and Atlanta’s already dim playoff chance would vanish completely.
After it was announced yesterday that the Falcons will be without Darqueze Dennard for at least the next few weeks, Atlanta’s already horrid secondary is now depleted. A.J. Terrell is still on the COVID-19 list and is unlikely to play in Week 4, but the Falcons seem optimistic Kendall Sheffield could return.
That leaves the likes of Sheffield, Isaiah Oliver, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and Jordan Miller, who was just added to the active roster after serving a four-game suspension, as the corners who will likely see action. Those four won’t inspire confidence against most quarterbacks, but especially not against Aaron Rodgers, who is playing out of his mind early this season. The Packers are going to score some points, and they will have some success through the air. It’s inevitable; however, it’s vital that Atlanta’s secondary scratches, claws, and do whatever they can to keep the Packers out of the end zone, giving the offense an opportunity.
Todd Gurley and Brian Hill
I put them together because I feel that Brian Hill has earned some extra snaps. He’s a more than formidable running back in his own right, and he’s proven that over the last three seasons. Regardless, the Falcons have to find their running attack in this one. It may not be their strong suit, but the best way to beat the Packers is by keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field, and Green Bay’s run defense has been their weakness so far this season. There’s a formula for the Falcons to pull off the upset on the road, but their running attack has to get going.
The Pass Rush
I already talked about the Falcons’ battered secondary in my first key. However, they won’t be able to slow down Aaron Rodgers alone. For the Falcons to keep the Packers from putting up a 40-burger, this pass rush will have to get going. We’ve seen them have success at times, but by the end of the game, they always seem to disappear. That can’t happen if the Falcons want to pull off this colossal upset. Atlanta’s pass rush needs to pin their ears back and pressure Rodgers early and often, but that won’t be easy against a very good Packers’ offensive line.
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