Atlanta Falcons running back Steven Jackson is tackled by Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (79) and cornerback Tramon Williams (38) in the 4th quarter at Lambeau Field in the 2013 matchup. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Blogging Dirty: The Falcons run game will go a long way to deciding how this game goes. Obviously the best defense against Aaron Rodgers is keeping him on the sideline with long possessions, so the Falcons will clearly try to establish a ground game early. We’ve had up and down success this season on the ground. Our run game had been pretty poor to start the season, and some drives we’d abandon it all together. Yardage stats are also a little misleading, as Antone Smith would come in and hit a home run touchdown once a game despite getting minimal carries, significantly bumping up our averages.
However, Steven Jackson just had his best game in Atlanta, becoming the first Falcon to rush for over 100 yards since 2012 and forcing the Cardinals to allow their first 100 yard rusher in a similar span. The Falcons have also mixed in 4th round rookie Devonta Freeman in and seemingly begun to phase out Jacquizz Rodgers. While Freeman will hopefully becoming the featured back in seasons to come, I can’t see the coaching staff trusting him in pass protection and to secure the ball in the cold, so expect to see a lot of Jackson early on.
The Falcons have struggled on the offensive line and tried to address this by drafting Jake Matthews. Meanwhile, Clay Matthews has just been moved to ILB and seems to be revitalised as a pass rusher. How do you see the family reunion playing out; how will Green Bay rush the passer this Monday?
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is hit by Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews during the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Lombardi Ave: Little cousin may have his hands full on Monday night. Outside of a minor groin injury, Clay Matthews has played better of late than he has in past seasons. Nick Perry has also been a missing piece of the pass-rush the last few games.
If Perry is back, he is coupled with additional pass-rushers such as Mike Daniels and Julius Peppers. Green Bay only managed to bring down Brady one time on Sunday. However, they were able to be a disruptive by applying constant pressure throughout the game. Green Bay’s secondary is only made stronger by a solid pass-rush. I look for the Packers to come out aggressive on Monday night, as they have climbed to number one in most power rankings.
Atlanta is the worst team in the league against the pass. What game plan can they draw up on Monday night in an effort to limit Aaron Rodgers?