Photo credit: Sports Illustrated
The 2016 NFC Championship was a hellacious nightmare for the Green Bay Packers. Mike McCarthy and Co. had to watch Matt Ryan annihilate their poorly prepared defense shred to pieces. However, the Packers have a chance to seek vengeance and defeat the Atlanta Falcons in their new home.
Week Two of the 2017 Regular season will feature a detestable matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. The embarrassing 2016 NFC Championship game was one of the worst outcomes any Cheesehead could ask for. However, Titletown has made significant changes on defense since last year; specifically the cornerback position. Going into the championship game, Dom Capers’ defense had undrafted Ladarius Gunter, a hobbling Damarious Randall and converted safety Micah Hyde on the top of the depth chart. This year, the job shifts between Davon House and Kevin King while Damarious Randall will embrace the ‘star’ slot position.
Packers’ CB Davon House and CB Kevin King VS Falcons’ WR Julio Jones
The Packers are hoping to catch a break this time around with the new additions. It is nearly impossible to guard Julio Jones; that’s a given. Davon House will bring his veteran mindset and skill sets to guard the 6’3 receiver. Meanwhile, rookie Kevin King will nearly match Jones’ height and speed. The rawness of King will play in as a huge disadvantage, so don’t depend on him to lock up Jones just because of his measurables.
Falcons’ S Keanu Neal and OLB De’Vondre Campbell VS Packers’ TE Martellus Bennett
Dan Quinn’s aggressive 4-3 defense has all the key elements to shut down Martellus Bennett scheme wise. However, Martellus Bennett will bring more flexibility to the Packers offense. Not surprising speed wise, but his big frame and veteran presence will play as a factor going against these young competitors. No discredit to Neal or Campbell however, as both were one of the handful of promising players on the Falcons’ Super Bowl roster. Expect Campbell to match up one-on-one with Bennett, whilst Neal will cover more of the intermediate zone routes. Neal will cover Bennett more adequately than Campbell. If the Falcons stick to their typical Cover 2 look, expect Campbell to have a long night.
Falcons’ DE Vic Beasley VS Packers’ T Bryan Bulaga
Even when the Packers’ O-line ran thin in the earlier years of Rodgers’ career, he still found ways to get out of the pocket and make big plays. That can be troublesome when you have the league leader in sacks. Vic Beasley initiated a slow start to his NFL career, but turned the tables the following year and recorded 15.5 sacks. Personally, I find it hard to believe Bulaga will have a non dreadful night. Beasley has proved to be one of the best pass rushers in the league and has lived up to his potential as a first round pick. Don’t expect Bulaga to keep Rodgers’ jersey clean.
Julio Jones will grab more than 12 receptions for 180+ yards.
Ty Montgomery will rush for more than 110 yards.
Randall Cobb will have 3 TDS.
More than 21 points will be scored by halftime.
Aaron Rodgers will throw to more than 9 receivers.
Matt Ryan will pass for more than 400 yards with a completion rate higher than 68%
This highly anticipated rematch will be the first regular season game in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. The last game in the Georgia Dome was held during the NFC Championship game. The new stadium will hold up to 85,00 fans that are anxious to see the high scoring matchup.
Final Score Prediction
Green Bay Packers 35 Atlanta Falcons 45
2017 Packers Season Predictions:
Chase Chandeysson covers the Green Bay Packers for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @chasechandey. Looking for more Packers news and features? Like our Packers Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_packers on Twitter.