While the Atlanta Falcons are coming off an impressive 34-31 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills, the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers are coming off one of their worst defeats as the Detroit Lions made sure the cheese-heads had nothing to be thankful en route to a 40-10 humbling loss on Thanksgiving Day.
While the Falcons are having one of the worst seasons in memory after coming off of a 13-3 record in 2012, their latest victory has injected some life and confidence as they may go up against a Packers team that could have Rodgers back for the first time since he broke his collarbone. The Falcons have been short on thanks this season, but against the Bills they had a few statistics that stood out.
Outside of winning in a dramatic fashion, the Falcons not only snapped their five-game losing streak, but they also put up their best offensive output with 423 total yards in their last eight outings. Besides the team’s overall effort looking much better in the past couple of games, the Falcons’ star players are finally shining. Although Matt Ryan was under pressure all game long by taking six sacks, Ryan also threw for 300 yards for the first time in five games.
Ryan wasn’t the only player to rise up to the challenge as the oft-injured receiver Roddy White finally exploded onto the scene with his best performance by far, hauling in 10 receptions for a season-high 143 yards. Running back Steven Jackson also had his best game as he carried the ball with a season-high 23 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Tony Gonzalez also contributed as he caught the lone touchdown pass from Matty Ice.
Although the Falcons enter the game on a very good note whether Rodgers suits up or not, the Packers are still an excellent team offensively featuring a plethora of talented receivers and one of the best young running backs in Eddie Lacy. On the year, Lacy is currently ranked 9th in rushing yards with 822.
Against the Lions, however, they were able to contain Lacy to one of his worst performances as he could only muster up 16 yards on 10 carries in a blowout loss. Even though the Packers have won zero games since Rodgers was sidelined with an injury, the team still features players such as Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin.
The Falcons’ first assignment on defense doesn’t concern Matt Flynn and the passing game. They must stop Lacy from dominating the game at the line of scrimmage.
With the Packers needing a win to stay alive in the playoff race for the last Wild Card spot, the Falcons will be playing the role of spoilers. They would have more to gain if they lost to keep up with the Houston Texans for the No. 1 overall pick.
As Ryan and the Falcons prepare themselves to face the green men from up north they will be hoping that they can carry over their confidence and play another game in a dramatic fashion as well.