Blogging Dirty editor Jamie Kelly asked some questions about today’s game … I’ve posted his questions and my answers here.
All I can say, is that I’m hoping for the best tonight. We all know the Packers offinse will come to play … but what about the defense. We’ll find out in a few hours.
Anyway, here are my answers after the jump:
Q. The Packers look in immense form right now, are they a better team now than they were last year?
A. Offensively, this Packers team is light years away from where they were at this time last year. Scoring at an average of more than 30 points per game with arguably the best quarterback in the league, this team has also added a couple new dimensions: an actual running game and improved special teams.
Defensively, this team is way behind what they were doing last year. The defensive backfield is getting gashed for big plays and the absence of a strong pass rush and accumulation of sacks is a huge concern. On the bright side, this defensive squad is simply making the big plays at opportune times. So though they are giving up the big gains, they always seem to come up big in the red zone, which is a statistic that is many times overlooked.
Overall, this is a team that has been on a roll. If they can keep it rolling … watch out.
Q. The defense for the Packers hasn’t been as stout as last year, particularly against the pass. What are the causes of this drop off in production?
A. I wish I knew the answer to this question and I hope the Packers defensive coaching staff figures it out soon. It’s clearly the issue that is concerning most who follow the team. Obviously, the loss of Nick Collins has had an effect, but if you go back to the first two games when Collins was playing, the same things were happening. So, I doubt whether his loss is the lone reason.
The Packers need to amp up their pass rush and continue stopping the run … that would certainly help the secondary. But as I mentioned above, to their credit, the Packers defense has come up with huge fourth down stops, interceptions and forced fumbles that have kept teams out of the end zone. If they can continue to keep teams to field goals instead of touchdowns, that will go a long way in helping them continue to rack up wins.
Q. Last year Aaron Rodgers destroyed the Falcons by picking on the 3rd and 4th corners of the Falcons. This time around, which match-up will the Packers offense use to exploit the Falcons defense?
A. Rodgers will take whatever the Falcons give him … that’s his greatest strength … to be able to read what’s coming open and hitting the open man. Whether it’s TE Jermichael Finley getting open down the seam, Greg Jennings or Jordy Nelson on the outside or Donald Driver or rookie Randall Cobb over the middle … whoever is getting separation will get the ball. The thing is, with so many weapons, Rodgers simply can’t go wrong. In addition, the Packers’ running game has been showing signs of life, which helps take pressure off the passing game. With Ryan Grant back and second-year back James Starks running hard, that’s an area that not many people are talking about … but it’s had a big effect on the success of the offense.
Q. Complete the sentence. The Packers beat the Falcons if …
A. … Their defense can keep the Falcons out of the end zone and can create at least a couple of turnovers. The Packers offense will put up at least four touchdowns … it will be up to the defense to shut down Matty Ice and the Falcons’ offense.
Q. And again. The Falcons beat the Packers if …
A. … The Packers defense allows the Falcons to move up and down the field and chew up the clock … If the Packers’ offense is kept off the field the Falcons will have a chance to run away with this one.
Q. Predictions for the game? Give us a score as well please.
A. I see the Packers offense continuing to roll. Aaron Rodgers plays well in domes and the defense will make enough plays to propel the Packers to 5-0. A difference that might be overlooked in this one are the special teams. With the addition of Randall Cobb, the Packers have improved greatly in this area of the game. I see at least one big play in this area from the Packers.
Final score: Packers 42 Falcons 28