Early Bird Breakdown Week 14: Falcons @ Packers
Before we dive in to this weeks breakdown, we’ll take a look at last week’s game:

The Good: The defense finally got multiple turnovers

This was a tough game to find a silver lining in. Green Bay’s defense finally was able to generate multiple turnovers, nabbing two picks from Stafford and a fumble for Bush. However, despite the turnovers, the defense (especially in the second half) looked defeated without any support from the offense and imploded.

The Bad: The offensive line
Say what you will about Flynn (in fact, I will be a little further down the page) but it is hard to throw when the defense is smacking you around all game. Green Bay gave up seven sacks for 37 yards. The running backs combined for 24 yards…combined! Of course, not all of this was because the offensive line played poorly, in fact…

The Ugly: The Green Bay Packers

This was a joint effort through and through. The defense gave up 561 yards of offense. The offense had 126 total yards. Lacy was smothered and couldn’t break free. Flynn could not throw with any velocity and was hit consistently. McCarthy probably should have pulled Flynn in the third quarter when the game was reachable just to create a spark. The Lions tried really hard in the first 20 minutes to give Green Bay the best chance to win, and Green Bay failed to capitalize.

How I did:
Green Bay winning 31-28 over Detroit ” – This upset call proved to be about as wrong as that creepy uncle who always shows up at Thanksgiving. Detroit, outside of the turnovers, moved the ball pretty easily against Green Bay while Green Bay struggled to do anything. The final was 40-10 Detroit over Green Bay.

Opponents Recap:
An Atlanta team with injury problems of their own traveled to Buffalo last weekend. For the first time all season Roddy White finally looked healthy, having 10 catches for 143 yards and the Falcons beat the Bills in overtime 34-31 to improve to 3-9 on the season.

The Breakdown:
Packers’ Offense vs. Falcons’ Defense:
The Packers if the ground game can get going cannot ask for a better opponent than Atlanta. The Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said this week he counted 28 missed tackles in the last two weeks. Whether it is a speed back like C.J. Spiller, who last week ran for 149 yards or a power back like Marshawn Lynch who a few weeks ago ripped off 145 of his own, running the ball has been a consistently good trend for teams playing the Falcons. They are 30 th overall against the run, and only 20 th against the pass (25 th overall). Green Bay will have multiple opportunities to move the ball, but Green Bay looked so flat against Detroit that if they play like that again they will lose to any team, even a 3-9 one.  Matt Flynn showed that he may grasp the offense better than Scott Tolzien but Tolzien has a better arm. Flynn’s passes were either short throws or slow, wafting ones. The Falcons may not be a good secondary but Flynn has to play much, much better than he did on Thanksgiving.

Packers’ Defense vs. Falcons’ Offense:
While it is nice for an offense to play one of the bottom of the league defenses, the Falcons also get a similar chance now that Green Bay is ranked 24 th .  Green Bay ranks 26 th in run defense now after starting so strong to begin the year and 20 th against the pass. However, Atlanta has for the most part failed to run the ball, averaging only 81.1 yards per game putting them at 29 th . Green Bay cannot let Atlanta run if they want to win, especially considering Atlanta already has the 5 th rated passing offense. Despite not elevating his team around him, Matt Ryan is not having a bad year.  The numbers are a bit inflated because he is second on attempts behind Matthew Stafford, though this is because the team has become so one dimensional.  Ryan also has to play behind a poor offensive line, who has already surrendered more sacks than any other season with Ryan at quarterback and 11 in the last two games alone. Matthews will be the potential difference maker here as the Packers will need a monster game from him or Atlanta will be able to throw the ball for big plays against a crumbling secondary.

The Weather Factor:
The best thing Green Bay has on this game is the weather at home. Atlanta is not an outdoor team and they do not perform well in sub-freezing temperatures.  Kickoff temperature will be 13 o with a 40% chance of snow.

The Game:
Atlanta presents just about everything Green Bay needs to get a win. Green Bay is at home, in cold conditions against a dome team. Atlanta is having serious tackle issues on defense and the offense is one dimensional, not to mention they can’t block anyone right now. And yet I cannot get last week’s game out of my mind. Matt Flynn had very little arm strength in a dome and very well could struggle throwing it this week. Atlanta watched the tape and saw Flynn showed little velocity, they could stick everyone in the box to stop Lacy like the Lions did and force Flynn to throw. If Flynn can play well, if Lacy can get to the next level I think Green Bay can win. But the team looks emotionally beat after not winning in a month. Ultimately, Matt Ryan comes to Lambeau and while he has never played well against Green Bay, he will be by far the best Quarterback playing today and because of that I think Atlanta beats Green Bay 24-16 .

Fantasy Extra:

Eddie Lacy: Yes, he had an awful game last week, but this is one of the worst run defenses in football and even with 11 in the box he still could get double digit fantasy points.

Roddy White: Because he looked really good against Buffalo and Green Bay corners like to give up big plays.

Everyone else: The cold weather and both team’s poor offensive lines will lead to mistakes and it is too risky during the fantasy playoffs to play many players on teams playing this poorly.



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