Friday, October 7, 2011
Burning Down the House
That is a photo of General William Tecumseh Sherman, the man who burned Atlanta to the ground during the Civil War. Last year when Aaron Rodgers led his Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Playoffs to Atlanta, history repeated itself when he burned the Georgia Dome to the ground. Mike Ditka said that it was the greatest Quarterbacking display he had ever witnessed in postseason history. 48-21 was the final score and it could have been a whole lot worst. "Matty Ice" melted last year as he saw his dream season go down in flames as Rodgers led his troops onward to Chicago with the glowing Amber's of the Dome behind his back. This year, the Falcons made offseason moves to combat Green Bay by adding Ray Edwards a pass rusher formally of the Vikings to a big contract this year (he has zero sacks for the season). They also traded 6 draft picks to acquire Julio Jones, who leads them in receptions this year to make them a more explosive offensive. However, they made no additions to boost their secondary, so the same backend of the defense will be trying to stop Aaron Rodgers and his corps of wide receivers/tight ends. Deion Sanders because of that fact expects Rodgers to light them up again, but he did say on the NFL network show No Huddle, "he thinks the Falcons will force 1 punt this which an improvement in the right direction." In the 48-21 game the Packers did not punt once. Just like last week ESPN and Yahoo have Aaron Rodgers as the top projected QB in fantasy football this week. Ryan Grant has been cleared by doctors and will play this week after last week due to a bruised kidney. The Falcons have no major injury news to report and will try a more balanced approach this time around. The only problem the Packers are amongst the NFL's best at stopping the run. Another issue for the Falcons is Rodgers torched their defense last year without Jermichael Finley in the lineup, so how will they cover the nightmare matchup that he presents. Roddy White said this week it was a fluke what the Packers did to them last year in the Playoffs and if you add that to Brett Favre's comments you have a more fired up Aaron Rodgers this week.
Let's, now look at the 5 key factors that will decide the game this week.
#1 Protection: Will the Falcons be able to get to Rodgers or keep Matt Ryan upright. Last year, the Falcons were able to get to Rodgers, but were not able to get him to the ground. The Falcons Defense this year ranked in the bottom five of getting sacks, so I don't expect this to change this week. This year, Matt Ryan has taken a horrible beating (I guess Vick isn't paying attention to his old team) in every game because his offensive line has trouble pass blocking. That is not good news for the Falcons with Dom Capers bringing his defense to town along with Clay Matthews Jr. looking to have his 1st big breakout sack game of the season (his only sack was against Cam Newton). #2 Time of Possession: This will tell the tale if the Falcons stay in the game or not. 34 minutes is the key because more than that number increases your % chances of winning the game. #3 Old Falcons or New Falcons: A more Micheal Turner based based offense or a spreadout throw it 50 times a game pass based offense that is getting Matty Ice hit a ton. Their method of attack will help determine the outcome of the game. #4 MAN UP!: Will the Falcons defense man up or give the same resistance as a hot knife thru butter. This is the biggest key to the game because if they play the same then Rodgers will put up a huge stat sheet again against them. #5 Aaron Rodgers: He gets to wear his favorite shoes this week that he wore last time against the Falcons and in the Super Bowl. What will he do as an encore to his performance from last week/year. As Bart Scott famous said, "I CAN'T WAIT," to find out what he does.
That is my preview of General Rodgers returning to the city he burnt to the ground last time he was their, but I leave you with my prediction for the game Packers 38 Falcons 28.