Week 2: Packers vs. Falcons

Is it really Week 2 already? Yes, yes it is. This week the Green Bay Packers will head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. It will be the first ever game played in the spectacle that is Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Reports are that the retractable roof will be open for this Sunday night showdown, which means that for the first time in 26 years, the Falcons will host a home game in an open-air stadium.

Both teams are coming in off victories last week. The Packers downed the Seattle Seahawks 17-9, while the Atlanta Falcons traveled to the Windy City and took down the Chicago Bears in a closely contested 23-17 win.

Neither team is a stranger to playing under the brightest lights, so I expect a shootout in this one, much like we saw in the playoffs just last season. Rodgers and company didn’t start well last week, in fact they did not score a point in the first half. I don’t see things going that way again, not tonight, and certainly not against the Falcons because you can’t afford to. So here is what I’m looking for in primetime!

  • Aaron Rodgers He will need to get off to a quick start as I mentioned, but I will be watching “how” he does it. I’m not looking for check downs and dink and dunk, this offense is nearly unstoppable when they get defenses on their heels with fast pace, and Rodgers ability to create big plays on free plays. He looked to Randall Cobb early and often last week. I do see Cobb maintaining 5-7 targets this week, but he won’t be the lead man.
  • Davante Adams Adams had an underwhelming week 1. On 7 targets he managed 3 catches and just 47 yards. However, expect a bounce back this week. Adams has shown in the past he just has a little extra when the lights are on. I expect Adams to lead the team in targets, yards, and I see him finding the end zone, maybe more than once.
  • Can they stop Julio Jones?- The simple answer: No. No team can “STOP” Julio Jones, because he’s not the type of player you cannot stop. He is the type of player you hope to contain and the Packers have done a poor job of that. In their previous matchup Jones had 9 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. Back in 2014 he racked up 11 catches for  259 yards and a TD. This young secondary will surely be tested in this one.

In my  Green Bay Packers Season Preview, I actually predicted that this one would go the Falcons way, predicting a 38-35 home victory. I mean it makes sense, right? Last year they took down the Packers in the regular season and then again in the NFC Championship game, they have the Packers number. They are the home team. They have the reigning MVP of the league in Matt Ryan. Julio Jones is a force of nature, going up against a young and relatively unproven secondary.

However, after week one, I find myself leaning the opposite way. I see that same young and relatively unproven secondary stepping up to the challenge. I think CB Davon House will shadow Julio the majority of the day, with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Morgan Burnett helping over the top. I think Rodgers likes the idea of going down to Atlanta and lighting up the fancy new scoreboard inside the billion dollar Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I think he is going to steak his claim, much like Eli Manning did to Jerry World down in Arlington. Taking that into account, coupled with how Atlanta looked against a Chicago Bears team that I don’t expect to be very good, I’m switching my pick! I’m going Packers! I mean, of course I’m going Packers. How do you bet against this QB? I can’t. My Week 2 Prediction is: 42-32 Packers. 

Follow me on twitter for more insights @brando_sports 

and as always, #GoPackGo.

 

Photo Credits: USA Today
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