Falcons host Packers in NFC Championship rematch
The last time they faced off in Atlanta, the Falcons routed the Packers for the NFC title. When they meet tonight, the site will be different, with the Falcons playing their first regular-season game in Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Considering how poorly Green Bay played last January at the Georgia Dome, it probably welcomes the change of venue.
“It’s past,” Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers insists. “You can’t rewrite history. It’s just two 1-0 teams who both think we can be there at the end of the season. These are the type of games, like last week, that you win these games and you feel better in December and January when you’re coming down to filling out that 12-team bracket.”
T hey got to 1-0 in dissimilar ways.
Green Bay completely shut down Seattle — yet another highly touted NFC contender — at Lambeau Field. Atlanta struggled with lowly Chicago before a goal-line stand, helped by a dropped pass that should have been a touchdown, allowed it to survive.
Now, the Falcons, who followed that NFC Championship Game win with a Super Bowl collapse against New England, open their new digs officially. The roof will even be open for the first time during a game, it appears. So the Falcons would play their first openair home game since 1991, their final season at Atlanta FultonCounty Stadium.
Dallas (1-0) at Denver (1-0)
After manhandling the Giants, Dallas can really prove it is an NFC power again by crossing over, heading to the Rockies and beating the Broncos. The Cowboys had the ball for so long against New York that the Giants’ defense withered. Denver’s D is just as good, so it’s a matchup of Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott, Jason Witten and that terrific offensive line against Von Miller, Aqib Talib & Co.
New England (0-1) at New Orleans (0-1)
Yes, it really did happen in the 2017 kickoff game: New England got hammered in the fourth quarter at home by Kansas City.
Usually, the Patriots respond after a loss, especially one in which Tom Brady struggled. Since 2003, the Patriots are 42-6 in the regular season after a loss.
Minnesota (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0)
The Vikings, particularly secondround running back Dalvin Cook (127 yards rushing) were impressive Monday night against New Orleans, but a short turnaround for a trip to the Steel City is never enviable. Their last win in Pittsburgh came Sept. 24, 1995.
Cleveland kept it close against archrival Pittsburgh, which seemed out of syn ch. Maybe star RB Le’Veon Bell will be more impactful after not reporting until Sept. 1; he had 32 yards on the ground last week, tying a career low.
Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0)
It’s impossible to know what the Bucs have after being forced by Hurricane Irma to move their bye up to opening week. They could be dynamic on offense and improved on defense, which would put them in the mix.
Miami (0-0) at L.A. Chargers (0-1)
It’s impossible to know what the Dolphins have after being forced by Hurricane Irma to move their bye up to opening week, too. They’ve spent the week in Califor nia and figure to be rusty.
Detroit (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1), Monday night
If the Giants don’t have standout receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) again, and their offensive line is as abysmal as it was against Dallas, this might not be much of a primetime showcase.
Buffalo (1-0) at Carolina (1-0)
Although they haven’t made the playoffs since the last century, the Bills lead this series 5-1. Their running game with LeSean McCoy was dynamic in the opener, but it was against the Jets. This should be a saltier test.
New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland (1-0)
You can bet that Raiders fans are stoked over the team’s performance at Tennessee, especially the balance on offense. Marshawn Lynch was in Beast Mode and eight players caught passes from Derek Carr.
San Francisco (0-1) at Seattle (0-1)
Once a terrific NFC West rivalry, the Seahawks have won six straight overall, and the last six matchups in Seattle, including playoffs. The Niners did little right in their home loss to Carolina as Kyle Shanahan made his debut as a head coach.
Washington (0-1) at L.A. Rams (1-0)
For the first time in his short NFL career, Jared Goff looked like a pro quarterback in the Rams’ rout of the Colts. Rookie coach Sean McVay, 31, ear ned first victory as the youngest head coach in modern league history, and he gets back star DT Aaron Donald from a holdout.
Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0)
If the Raven scan ma sh the Browns on the ground and rush the passer well — both things they mastered in shutting out Cincinnati last week — they will be tough every game. Baltimore QB Joe Fl acco is 15-2 lifetime against the Browns, with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Arizona (0-1) at Indianapolis (0-1)
Both teams come off rough openers. Arizona lost at Detroit and saw star running back David Johnson, one of the NFL’s most versatile players, break his wrist. Look for Lar ry Fitzgerald to be the focal point of the offense against a weak secondary.