Sunday, December 7, 2014

NFL Preview: Green Bay Packers Vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Green Bay Packers will be ready for some home cooking when the Atlanta Falcons visit Lambeau field on Monday night. The frozen tundra will live up to its moniker as the temperature will be in the mid 20's by kick off. That is perfect Packer football, and could give the team more of an advantage over a dome team. Don't doubt the Falcons though. Although they have been underwhelming this season they are still dangerous team. The Packers are coming off one of their biggest wins in franchise history against the New England Patriots last week. Last weeks win cemented the Packers as an elite team, but now they'll have to deal with the hype. There are three things the Packers will have to do to ensure victory on Monday night.

1. Keep The Passing Game Hot:

The Falcons come into this game with the 32nd ranked pass defense. That stat right there has to have MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers chomping at the bit. Although the weather may be cold on Monday night Rodgers should still be able to carve up the Falcons secondary. The emergence of rookie receiver Davante Adams last week against the Patriots makes the Packers passing game even more dangerous. If Rodgers is able to get in his normal groove at home it could be a long night for the Falcons. Look for Rodgers to get all of his receivers involved as well as the tight ends. If this team is going to make a run their going to have to get the tight ends involved more. Rookie tight end Richard Rodgers seems like the best candidate. He's shown flashes all season, and can stretch the field when needed.

2. Get Lacy Ready For January: 

The Packers have ran the ball well since their slow start in September. But if they want to be serious contenders they're going to have to really establish a run game going forward. We all know the Packers have had recent playoff struggles because of their lack of a running game. Teams are able to focus on Rodgers, and shut the offense down. Lacy was brought in to make this team one of the most balanced in the game. The Falcons are 21st in rushing defense so there's no reason Lacy shouldn't go over the 100 yard mark. I expect one of the Packers more balanced games on Monday night. Don't forget Lacy has also emerged as a good pass catching back this season. Look for the Packers to start building Lacy's confidence up on monday night.

3. Stay Hungry On Defense:

Ever since the bye week the Packers defense has been very aggresive. You could make an argument that this is the best the defense has looked since the 2010 Super Bowl run. Some have said the change in defense is due to Clay Matthews III moving to the middle, but I think it goes deeper than that. The change in defense is due to Dom Capers switching up the personnel packages. AJ Hawk has had a cut in play time and deservedly so. Young LB's like Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington have given a shot to this defense. Add a veteran like Julius Peppers in the mix who has become this defenses leader, and it seems to be the perfect mix. Expect the Packers to blitz Falcons QB Matt Ryan heavy on Monday and force him into errors. He's known to crumble under pressure. The secondary will have their hands filled with a talented duo of receivers like Julio Jones and Roddy White. If the blitz's are effective look for the Packers secondary to create a few turnovers through the air.

This game could be close through the first quarter, but in the end I believe the Packers will pull away and stay far away from the Falcons. The Packers seem to be functioning at a high level right now, and with this game being at Lambeau I don't expect a let down. If there are no major injuries this could be a game where the Packers are bringing in Matt Flynn in the third quarter. Look for the Packers to continue to stay hot, and win a laugher on Monday Night.

AJ's Prediction:

Packers: 35

Falcons 13

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