Atlanta at Green Bay: Five Things to Know
The fact this is an important game in the NFC playoff picture says soemthing about how the Atlanta Falcons continue to hold on to the NFC South lead and even with a 5-7, they look to be a prominent fixture heading downt he season's stretch.
Unless the Packers have something to say about it.
Playing Green Bay right now after the team appears to ahve found its stride can only spell trouble and hamper the division's playoff picture. Will the sand finally run out in the hourglass? The Falcons are better on offense, but can the defnese stop Aaron Rodgers?
Here are five things to know aboutt his game.
According to packers.com editor, Vic Ketchman, The Atlanta Falcons have suffered two of the most heartbreaking losses of the NFL season, but heading into the final month of the season, the Falcons find themselves tied for the NFC South lead with the Saints, each with 5-7 records.
“I think it has brought us closer, having to battle through some tough losses, and I think it’s been a galvanizing thing or whatever, but it’s definitely brought us together and made people mentally tough. The one thing that I’ve been proud of is that we’ve continued to battle all year, regardless of the situation, and I respect our guys for that,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan told Packers media on Thursday.
The Falcons will take on what many believe to be the No. 1 team in the league, the Packers, at Lambeau Field next Monday night. Falcons Coach Mike Smith pronounced Aaron Rodgers the No. 1 quarterback in the game.
While preparations for Monday night's game at Lambeau Field continued Friday, both CB Robert Alford (wrist) and WR Roddy White (ankle) did not participate at practice, while WR Harry Douglas was a limited participant.
White, however, was at practice without his helmet and was seen running along the sidelines. Head coach Mike Smith said White is making good progress and he feels confident he will be ready.
Smith said Monday that Alford is expected to be fitted for a playing cast as the week comes to an end, allowing him to return to practice as he recovers from a wrist injury.
Douglas continues to recover from a nagging foot injury.
SHOWING THE GOODS
Wide receiver Julio Jones plans to follow up his career-receiving day from Week 13.
After pulling in 10 receptions for 189 yards and one touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals, Jones will step into the national spotlight of Monday Night Football looking to help his team improve to 6-7.
“I just got to go and do it again," Jones said. "The hardest thing is to keep doing it. Doing it again and doing it again. People praise you. A lot of people gave up on us early on, and this season hasn’t been going like we wanted it to. Here at this organization, we just have to believe, and we just have to keep going.”
Jones enters the Week 14 matchup with 82 receptions for 1,169 yards (14.3 avg.) and five touchdowns. In three-career games on Monday Night Football, the former Alabama star has totaled 20 receptions for 241 yards and one touchdown.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
There is always something to be said when a game becomes “Matthews vs. Matthews.”
Atlanta Falcons rookie Jake Matthews is anticipating some memorable firsts in Week 14. The team's top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft will be appearing in his first-ever Monday Night Football game and doing so against his cousin for the first time, linebacker Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers.
"I’m really excited to play against him," Matthews said. "Everything I’ve seen on film, he’s a great player. Clay is definitely a force on their defense. I take a lot of pride in that — being part of our family and that he’s such a good player. He's going to be a big challenge for me, but I feel confident and up for it.”
Throughout the contest, the 22-year-old Matthews is sure to see different Packers defenders, but when the one-on-one matchups come against his 28-year-old cousin, the Falcons left tackle expects to hear a little bit of old-fashioned trash talk.
PACKERS WIN AGAIN
The Falcons look to be better the past few weeks, but playing one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Can the secondary keep the Packers receivers at bay? It will be hard to slow down both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
When the Packers are not throwing it, Eddie Lacy is running and charging hard. Atlanta may have finally ended its march toward the playoffs on Sunday.
PACKERS 38 FALCONS 27