Watching last nights game, it become evident that these two teams will be the greatest challenge for Atlanta in the NFC this season. Both looked explosive on Offense utilising short, quick passes early and often in the game, but lacked stoutness on defense.
The Packers in the first quarter, showed off the type of dangerous offense that dismantled the Falcons in the Playoffs last year. They were particularly proficient last night in using 10 to 15 yard curls against the Saints’ soft coverage. If the Falcons are to play the “Pack” better they must play tighter coverage and must press more than they did in the playoff game. TE Jermichael Finley looked very good last night, his re-introduction adds another scary dimension to this offense.
On the Defensive side, the Pack lacked a strong pass rush for most of the game, only really getting success when blitzing two or more from their back seven. I was quite surprised that on 3rd down most of the time, Green Bay elected to rush only three or four, which resulted in very little pressure on QB Brees. A notable image for me was during one 3rd down play for the Saints, Clay Matthews was tripled team by the Saints O-Line. No matter how great Matthews is he will not beat three offensive lineman.
For the Saints, the stand out performance for me was RB/KR Darren Sproles, he showed great lateral movement as well as strong speed on the TD Punt return, which made Saints fans soon forget about Reggie Bush. The O – Line also did a very good job especially in pass protection, as for run blocking they were not quite so dominant but still did produce a decent performance.
On Defense, the Saints looked very poor, they struggled all night to assemble any sort of pass rush from their front four, it seemed that Aaron Rodgers had forever to throw the ball. On the back end things were not that much better, aside from Malcolm Jenkins and a good final quarter from Jabari Greer, the Saints DB’s looked very suspect. This could be an area the Falcons could choose to exploit when they first face off against the Saints in week 10.