Packers hit the road for NFC title rematch

Posted September 18, 2017

Anybody placing sportsbook bets during last year's playoffs can vividly recall the NFC Championship match between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons: a back and forth shootout that ended in an Atlanta landslide. Defensively, the Falcons combined for 4 sacks, including a pair from Brooks Reed who also notched the game-winning 4th down sack with the Bears threatening at the Falcons' 5-yard line with just seconds to play.

Matt Ryan did manage to throw for 321 yards and a touchdown in the road win in Chicago.

All season long, Atlanta must regularly prove it is still the class of the NFC.

The Green Bay Packers came through on Sunday in their 17-9 victory at Lambeau Field over the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which unrelenting defensive pressure, anemic offensive production, and unreliable offensive line protection were defining factors at various points for both teams. The defending NFC champions will now look to make it three wins in a row against the Packers in Atlanta, with the hope that some of that Georgia Dome magic can carry over to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Their running game with LeSean McCoy was dynamic in the opener, but it was against the Jets. Jordy Nelson was coming back from broken ribs, Davante Adams was hobbled by an ailing ankle, corners Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins were dealing with groin injuries, and those injuries were just the tip of the iceberg. Rodgers was the leading Green Bay rusher in both of those games.

As important as the passing attack will be, Green Bay needs to place a greater emphasis on the run game against Atlanta. DE Mike Daniels is also questionable.

New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland (1-0) (1 p.m., CBS): You can bet that Raiders fans are stoked over the team's performance at Tennessee, especially the balance on offense.

There was not much between the Seahawks and Packers through the game, and it was a tight and low-scoring affair.

In a surprise move Tuesday, the Packers cut cornerback LaDarius Gunter. Jones' superior speed won the day.

Of course, Green Bay has other weapons as well. TE Austin Hooper will give the Packers problems up the middle, too, forcing safeties to make a critical decision between covering him or the always-dangerous Jones.

Atlanta's defense looks better. Slowing Jones will be key.

That was a priority in practice going into Week 2, along with improved tackling.

Washington (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0): For the first time in his short National Football League career, Jared Goff looked like a pro quarterback in the Rams' rout of the Colts. In a game where Atlanta will be focused on handling the Packers perimeter threats, Bennett could do some serious damage right in the heart of the defense.

Practice hasn't always made ideal though.

"Last year's last year", the Packers coach said Wednesday. He came to the Packers from Stanford University, where he started at tackle all four years and where he was named to multiple All-PAC-12 teams. Mike McCarthy is prone to say, "Stats are for losers".

Still, it will be something the Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl receiver and the rest of Aaron Rodgers' pass-catchers will have to account for Sunday night in Atlanta. Aaron Rodgers likes him a lot because he runs accurate routes and gets open. Both teams look to extend that streak on Sunday night.