Atlanta Falcons Vs. Green Bay Packers
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
Time: 8:20 ET
Week two features one of the juiciest matchups of the NFL seasons between two former league MVPs. Matt Ryan versus Aaron Rodgers has turned into one of the best quarterback battles in the modern era. Don’t believe it? Go through the incredible numbers these two guys put up when they face each other, and the amount of times these two teams have met up with season’s on the line. Atlanta and Green Bay met twice a season ago. The Falcons won both of them but in far different fashions.
The first game was a nail biter that came down to the final possession. Luckily for Atlanta, it was Matt Ryan who had the ball last as he hooked up with Mohammed Sanu for the game winning touchdown with under a minute to play. The second took place with all the marbles on the line in the NFC Championship game, but this time the Falcons jumped all over a Packers squad riddled with injuries. They do not have those same health concerns early in this season and will be returning to Atlanta looking for revenge.
Both team are coming off of wins in week one. Although, the Falcons looked much less impressive, barely escaping with a win on the road against the Bears. Green Bay showcased a revamped and stouter looking defense against the Seahawks. Russell Wilson was under constant duress, as the Packers defense held him to just 158 yards passing. Neither the Atlanta or Green Bay offenses looked like their true selves in week one. Do not be surprised if these are two totally different teams in week two after shaking off some of the rust. It is easy to overreact to week one performances, but this Sunday night game should tell us a lot more about where each of these teams are going forward.
Chase Irle: It is just so easy to overreact to week one. I remember last season I almost did not even want to watch week two after Atlanta laid such an egg in the first week of the season on their home turf. But I am going to keep this simple here. Throw what you saw in the opening week out the window because this game is going to be totally different. Both of these offenses shake off the rust, and the difference is going to be which defense can rise to the challenge. The answer should be Atlanta’s. I know the Green Bay defense looked fantastic in week one, but that was more of fool’s gold against a struggling offense that was extremely rusty. The Falcons defense is much further along than Green Bay and should be able to create similar problems for Rodgers that Seattle posed last weekend. The Atlanta offense opens up a little more in this one and beat Green Bay for the third time in the last twelve months.
Prediction: Falcons 33, Packers 24
Michael Arkin: In the first NFL game played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Falcons have a chance to beat the Green Bay Packers for the third straight time in 2017. They defeated them twice in 2017, and Atlanta can beat them for a third straight time in less than a year. With that being said, that is no simple task. The Packers have an elite quarterback at the helm, and they are very healthy compared to the NFC Championship last season. Both teams took care of business in Week 1, and both coaches know how big this early season matchup means. Falcons Right Guard Wes Schweitzer particulary did not have a solid Week 1, but he will need to turn it around in facing Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels. Daniels and Matthews lead the pass-rushing attack, and look for Matthews to go against his cousin Jake Matthews in many situations. Dan Quinn’s defense will need to continue their success against Aaron Rodgers, and their key to success has been finding ways to hit him and make him make quicker decisions then what he’s used to. This will be an incredible game, but I believe the Atlanta offense is still too much for Green Bay to handle.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Packers 24
Harrison Coburn: I was actually in attendance for the Falcons week 8 tilt with the Packers, and it was one of the most exhilarating games I have ever seen live. The Falcons have now beat Aaron Rodgers two times in a row, however, and this Sunday he is due. I think it will be a good game, and Atlanta will play their heart out on their new turf. At the end of the day though, the Falcons looked rusty and have switched offensive coordinators. While I think Sarkisian is a viable option, it may take the team a few weeks to gel. It will be a shootout in Atlanta, but the Packers hand the Falcons their first loss of the season in a close game in which Rodgers just puts up too many points.
Prediction: Packers 31, Falcons 27
Jared Halus: The Falcons are coming off of one of the most impressive and dominant playoff runs of all time, where they absolutely dismantled every team they played until the Super Bowl. One of these teams was the Green Bay Packers. Sure, the Packers will have some bad taste in their mouths from the playoff defeat. However, at the end of the day, this game between two NFC powerhouses will come down to nothing more than who is the better team – and that is the Atlanta Falcons. A team that went 2-0 against the Packers in 2016, and has only gotten better on paper. The atmosphere at MBS will be electric as the Falcons take a close one over someone who isn’t exactly a rival, but is starting to feel like one.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Packers 20