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The Breakdown: 2011 Divisional Falcons and Packers

January 10th 2011 15:28
This is the rematch of the game that the Falcons one earlier this season. Well, sort of. The thing is, the Packers have matured greatly in the time that has transpired since that game on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The Packers destroyed the Giants, gutted out a W against the Bears, and held off Vick's Eagles. Yes, it's that time again. It's another breakdown.

James Starks could be the answer to the Packers' running dilemma. Brandon Jackson has failed despite the support of coach Mike McCarthy. Starks is a poor player, but poor players are valuable on hot streaks. He was impressive against a decent Eagles' rush defense. The Falcons' run D is as good- if not worse- than the Eagles. Even though Aaron Rodgers isn't a running back, he is the best rusher on the Packers.

Jonathan Babineaux and the rest of the DTs can breath a sigh of relief. They won't have to deal with a running back that can bust it up the A-Gap. In fact, they won't really have to worry about the run game at all. The only offensive lineman that can hurt them is the Packers' only useful offensive lineman; right guard Josh Sitton. Scott Wells and especially Daryn Colledge are terrible players.

Curtis Lofton and Mike Peterson are two good tacklers that will easily cover the Packers' terrible tight ends. This means that they can focus more on the slot receiver; Jordy Nelson. Peterson and Lofton should be able to throw out any hopes of a good running game. They both help make up a much better group of linebackers than the Eagles.

Kory Biermann and stalwart John Abraham should be able to shove around rookie Bryan Bulaga and the easily burnable Chad Clifton. Thomas DeCoud is a good safety, and Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes are one of the top cornerback duos in the league. They should be able to keep the Packers' receivers honest. However, we have seen Rodgers play at a high level against worse defenses. No matter how good the corners are, Rodgers can beat you. I do think that the Falcons should be able to hold down the electric Green Bay pass attack.

Todd McClure will keep the Falcons' interior intact. However, Sam Baker and Tyson Clabo aren't good enough to contain the elite pass rushing combo of Cullen Jenkins and Clay Matthews. This could lead to some critical mistakes by Ryan against a great secondary. Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams provide a tough challenge for Roddy White. White has the ability to play up against top corners- we saw this against Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph- but neither of those two have been quite in the groove as Williams and Woodson.

Michael Jenkins and Harry Douglas are solid receivers, but I don't see them being big factors against whichever corner is guarding them. Nick Collins is one of the best safeties in the league and is arguably the best safety in coverage defense- Quintin Mikell and Ed Reed are in the argument. This defensive unit won't get burned.

Tony Gonzalez will be Ryan's go to guy. AJ Hawk and the others can contain him to some degree, but Gonzo is unstoppable in crucial situations such as 3rd and 4th down. Ryan targets his veteran tight end in these kinds of situations, as most young QBs do. Michael Turner is a great pure running back. It's up to Desmond Bishop- who was terrific against the Eagles- and BJ Raji to contain Turner.

I think that both secondaries have the ability to minimize the potency of their opponents' prolific passing play. However, the Falcons do have the ability to run the football well and control the game from that aspect. I hate picking against Aaron Rodgers. He is such a great quarterback, and he is a legend in the making. But I'm going to reluctantly go against the team I'm rooting for. I just think that the Falcons are more well-rounded with their running game. If the Packers win, I will celebrate and I want them to win. But I'm going to go with Atlanta on this one.

Prediction: 21 Falcons 20 Packers MVP Curtis Lofton
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3 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Dustin Hull

January 10th 2011 19:24
I agree, it will be a VERY close game. I'm still on the fence with this one. The keys are the running games. Starks had a good game against Phili, but who knows if he'll stay consistent, and the Packers have to stop Turner. We know Rodgers and Ryan are good, so the backs will be key. I'd probably take the Falcons still, even with the Packers' offense becoming more well-rounded.

Comment by Gabe Lock

January 10th 2011 20:26
Looking for T. Williams or Woodson to create a huge play to possibly turn the tide in this one.

Comment by nbageek

January 10th 2011 23:45
Will be a great game for sure. Am also, undecided. Looking at this and the ravens and steelers as the tossup games.

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