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NFC Heavyweights: Packers Visit Falcons In Week 2

NFC Heavyweights Atlanta Falcons via flickr


NFC Heavyweights Face Off

For the first time since the NFC Championship game, the Packers will pay a visit to the Falcons in Atlanta. This time with not much more on the line than bragging rights. However, this game could decide home-field advantage in the playoffs down the stretch. These NFC heavyweights both won their divisions last season, making it to the NFC Championship game. That was a game the Packers hardly showed up for, aside from Aaron Rodgers.

Following Green Bay‘s horrid performance in the 44-21 demolition, they are looking for redemption. The defense of the Packers looked like a new beast last week, holding the Seahawks to just nine points. Surprisingly, it was the offense that looked a bit rusty when facing off with the Hawks defense. Offensive production was not lacking, but the scoreboard was light in the 17-9 victory.

Nitro Defense

For the majority of last year, the Packers could not hold onto a starting cornerback due to injury. That fact was highlighted last time the NFC heavyweights played. It cost them greatly in the NFC Championship game as Julio Jones posted 180 yards with two touchdowns. This season brings a healthy secondary back to the Cheeseheads. Green Bay drafted Kevin King and signed Davon House in the offseason to add depth at cornerback. Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, and LaDarius Gunter come into the game with a clean bill of health.

This season, Dom Capers introduced a new defensive package to the Packers’ playbook. Green Bay has called the three safety package “Nitro.” The package brings safety Morgan Burnett down closer to the line of scrimmage as a linebacker. Burnett is able to get into tight ends and wide receivers while working the line like a backer. Kentrell Brice is brought in as the additional safety paired with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Coach Mike McCarthy has complimented Brice’s improvement as well as his confidence and communication. “He has complete command of the defense,” McCarthy mentioned. “It’s a big reason he’s played as much as he’s played.”

Rodgers Offense

Heading into the NFC heavyweights bout comes a few questions surrounding the Aaron Rodgers led offense. First off, the Packers will need to find balance. Both games in Atlanta last season ended with Rodgers leading the team in passing yards. . . and rushing yards. . . and touchdowns. . . and return yards. Maybe not the last one, but surely the Packers will need to take some pressure off the star quarterback.

Enter Ty Montgomery. Montgomery was hardly available in the Championship game (3 carries, 17 yards) due to injury. He also was unavailable when the Packers played Atlanta last year in week 8. However, the fact that he did average nearly six yards a carry on his few touches does look good. Last week he showed that he can carry a heavy load with 19 carries. The Falcons’ rushing defense surrendered over six yards a carry last week to the Bears. With an average of 5.9 yards-per-carry in his first season at running back, Montgomery will be a difference maker in this one.