Dirty Bird Daily: Falcons offense should shred the Packers secondary


The Atlanta Falcons offense is salivating after watching the Green Bay Packers defense play the Dallas Cowboys primarily in nickel coverage last week.

The Atlanta Falcons beat up a Green Bay secondary riddled with injuries back in Week 8. Not much has changed as the Packers secondary will again limp into the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

Few were surprised to see Dak Prescott put up over 300 passing yards last week. Green Bay’s secondary has been about as bad as it gets this year. Only the New Orleans Saints gave up more passing yards during the regular season. Micah Hyde has emerged as bit of a play-maker, but pass coverage remains the cheese-heads’ Achilles heel.

The Packers haven’t seen cornerback Quinten Rollins since a concussion knocked him out of action in Week 17. Strong safety Morgan Burnett’s status is also up in the air after leaving last Sunday’s game with a quad injury. This isn’t welcome news to the green and gold faithful. It seems the only chance Green Bay has at slowing the Falcons offense is by way of a pass rush. The name of their game is ‘get to Matt Ryan before he can throw’.

Pro Football Focus

ranked the Packers defensive front 9th overall to close the regular season. They give defensive end Mike Daniels a player grade of 85.3, but only a 44.6 for edge-rusher Clay Matthews. Matthews was hurt earlier in the season and hasn’t played up to his popularity since returning to the field. What Green Bay does to opposing quarterbacks is a direct a credit to Daniel, Datone Jones, Kenny Clark, and John Ryan.

This doesn’t go without mentioning the Packers lack depth within their defense. They will crumble if not healthy during all four quarters on Sunday.

The Packers may rank 12th in the NFL with 104 hurries and 6th in sacks, but that shouldn’t phase the Atlanta Falcons. I fully expect Kyle Shanahan to utilize some quick routes and passes to running backs, should pressure be a problem. There’s also a ton of confidence in the fact Atlanta completely dismantled a top defense in Seattle last weekend.

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I will be paying close attention to how the Falcons choose to attack the Packers defense early. Shanahan didn’t hesitate to go right at the strength of the Seahawks defense last week. Atlanta attacked Richard Sherman with much success early and it quickly took the wind out of the 12th man’s sails. That said, I have a hunch Sunday is another game in which Devonta Freeman will run all over the field.