PACKERS (1-0) VS. FALCONS (1-0)
SUNDAY, 8:30 P.M. ET, MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM, ATLANTA uTV: NBC
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
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
Austin Hooper had an 88-yard touchdown reception in the Falcons opener.