Falcons new-look defense will be tested by Jordan Love, Packers offense

NFL: SEP 10 Packers at Bears

The Falcons’ new-look defense made quite the first impression, holding the Panthers and Bryce Young to 10 points while forcing three turnovers.

Atlanta’s defense has garnered praise from around the league. ESPN analyst Dan Orvlosky said they were the most surprising unit from Week 1, describing Ryan Nielsen’s scheme as multiple, always changing, and hard to decipher. An anonymous Packers coach added, “This defense is crazy.”

It’s a different feeling for Falcons fans, who have become accustomed to losing while scoring 30+ points. Last week, the offense spun its wheels while the defense led the charge.

The investment in that side of the ball has provided immediate results, but the Panthers’ offense isn’t on the level of the Packers. Ryan Nielsen and the slew of new faces looked great last week, but the Packers offense is a different beast.

The Green Bay run game is among the most diverse and effective in the NFL; Matt LaFleur is one of the best play designers and callers in the league, putting Jordan Love in a position to succeed against the Bears last week.

Similar to Arthur Smith’s offense, the Packers will stress the defense’s eyes with motion and misdirection. Even though it’s only been one week, Green Bay looks like one of, if not the most diverse offense from a personnel standpoint in the league.

LaFleur and Smith try to accomplish very similar things by forcing defenses to play different personnel while trying to make everything on the offensive side of the ball look similar.

The Falcons and Packers offenses rely on versatility throughout the skill position groups to give the illusion of complexity, which is something the Packers often say. It begins pre-snap, where the assignments for defenders aren’t clear. When defenders doubt their responsibilities, they’re reacting instead of attacking — advantage: offense.

Jordan Love isn’t Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers offense puts him in a position to succeed nonetheless. Granted, the Falcons’ defense is superior to what Love faced last week in Chicago, but in that same breath, the Green Bay offense is superior to what Atlanta faced last week.

Photographer: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire
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