Atlanta Falcons Will Be Facing a Ripe Packers Team

3 of 4

The Predators In Atlanta Falcons’ Secondary Will Continue Their Recent Success

Nov 9, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons free safety Dwight Lowery (20) reacts after he intercepted the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons’ secondary has been producing at a phenomenal level lately.  Two games ago they snagged three interceptions in a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, and last week they added 7 passes defensed as well as three more takeaways with two INTs and a fumble caused by recently returned safety William Moore and recovered by star CB Desmond Trufant.  Admittedly these six takeaways were against QBs and offenses nowhere near the quality of Rodgers and company, but this does speak to success of a new-found aggressiveness defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has unleashed with his secondary reaping the statistical rewards and the Falcons garnering Ws along the way.

“We went into the game wanting to put pressure on the quarterback…”- Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan on facing the Cardinals

Regarding his strategy versus the Cardinals Nolan noted, “We went into the game wanting to put pressure on the quarterback…”  He made good on this by immediately sending nickelback Josh Wilson on a blitz during Arizona’s very first 3rd-down play.  This foretold Atlanta’s dedication to consistently swarming the field and directly resulted in Arizona gaining 1st downs just once out of seven third down chances.  That set the tone for the game as the Dirty Birds’ defense had eight QB hits harassing Cardinals QB Stanton into an overall forgettable day.

Nov 30, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton rushes a throw while under pressure from Falcons safety Dwight Lowery. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to differentiate whether the defense’s success was due to Nolan’s approach, the inspirational return of team leader Moore, a new rotation of up-front defenders allowing for an unexpected contribution from backup Cliff Matthews (2 QB hits, 1 deflected pass), or more likely some combination thereof… but there’s little question the Falcons defense absolutely attacked the Cardinals and the secondary took advantage with game-impacting takeaways at essential moments of the game.

The burgeoning confidence of the Predators in the Atlanta Falcons secondary earned over the past few weeks, boosted by the return of veteran leader safety Wily Mo, will carry over into their Monday night contest.  I expect this will provide quite the shock to Rodgers, more than a few cheeseheads, and media talking-heads all around.