PACK­ERS (1-0) VS. FAL­CONS (1-0)

SUN­DAY, 8:30 P.M. ET, MERCEDES-BENZ STA­DIUM, AT­LANTA uTV: NBC

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - WEEK 2 MATCH UP - Rus­sell Wil­son Rodgers Reed, Aaron Austin Hooper, Matt Ryan Brooks Steve Sark­isian Mar- quand Manuel. Matchup to watch: Pack­ers DL Mike Daniels vs. Fal­cons RG Wes Sch­weitzer. Player to watch: Fal­cons WR Julio Num­ber crunch­ing: 2. Ca­pers Clay Matthews Ha

An­nounc­ers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.

About the Pack­ers: Green Bay mud­dled its way to a sea­son-open­ing win against the Seat­tle Sea­hawks, thanks to a gritty de­fense that yielded no touch­downs and limited QB

to 198 to­tal yards. QB over­came a score­less first half to rally the troops, though 17 points likely won’t get it done against the Fal­cons in what prom­ises to be a high-scor­ing af­fair. The Pack­ers will try to avenge a lop­sided 44-21 loss to At­lanta in last year’s NFC Cham­pi­onship Game, in which they trailed 24-0 at half­time.

About the Fal­cons: At­lanta didn’t look like the de­fend­ing NFC champions against the Chicago Bears, need­ing a de­fen­sive stand in the wan­ing sec­onds to win 23-17. Two un­likely he­roes emerged — TE who col­lab­o­rated with QB on a gamechang­ing 88-yard TD pass, and LB

who made a game-clinch­ing sack on fourth-and-goal from the Fal­cons 5. The Fal­cons of­fense didn’t ap­pear to be in sync with first-year co­or­di­na­tor in Week 1, and their de­fense needs to play at a higher level un­der first-year co­or­di­na­tor The Pack­ers’ best pass rusher and over­all best de­fen­sive line­man will square off against At­lanta’s new­est of­fen­sive line starter, who strug­gled might­ily in pass pro­tec­tion in his NFL de­but. Daniels had seven tack­les, 11⁄ sacks, four QB hits and a tackle for loss against Seat­tle.

He was a non-fac­tor against Chicago, catch­ing four passes for 66 yards but only one for 4 yards in the sec­ond half. Jones has 501 ca­reer re­cep­tions, join­ing An­quan Boldin as the only play­ers in NFL his­tory with 500 catches in their first 80 games.

Com­bined touch­down passes by Ryan and Rodgers in Week 1. Last sea­son, they fin­ished first and sec­ond with 40 (Rodgers) and 38 TD passes,

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

re­spec­tively.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Sic ’em: The Fal­cons had four sacks against Chicago — two by Reed — plus 10 QB hits. But they’ll need to get more pres­sure on Rodgers from Grady Jar­rett, Don­tari Poe and top pick Takkarist McKin­ley, among oth­ers.

2. Sic ’em II: The Pack­ers will at­tempt to get Ryan out of his com­fort zone with a con­ven­tional four-man pass rush. If that doesn’t work, look for de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor

to dial up pres­sure from other an­gles with LBs and and FS Pack­ers LB

might be in con­cus­sion pro­to­col af­ter suf­fer­ing a head in­jury against Seat­tle.

3. Get on script: Part of the Fal­cons’ of­fen­sive woes against Chicago came in the red zone, where they scored only one TD in three trips. That was a point of em­pha­sis for Sark­isian in the pre­sea­son. He must in­te­grate all of the Fal­cons weapons — RBs

and WRs Jones and Hooper.

4. Spread the wealth: Rodgers and the Pack­ers can an­swer with their own com­ple­ment of of­fen­sive game-chang­ers, no­tably WRs and

and TE That places a heavy bur­den on the Fal­cons’ lineback­ing corps and sec­ondary, specif­i­cally CBs and FS LBs Brian Allee-Walsh RB and and

JONATHAN DANIEL, GETTY IM­AGES

Austin Hooper had an 88-yard touch­down re­cep­tion in the Fal­cons opener.

Jones.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.