The 5-7 Atlanta Falcons head into Lambeau Field to play the 9-3 Green Bay Packers in a matchup of first place teams on Monday Night Football. It seems strange to see a team with a 5-7 record in first place but due to incredible mediocrity in the NFC South that is where the Falcons find themselves after they remained tied for the division lead with the Saints after last weeks win over the Arizona Cardinals. The Falcons have not had the season they expected as far as their record goes but in regards to their place in the standings, they are right where they want to be. While their defense has been crippled by injuries, the offense has been relatively healthy and appears to be finally playing to their expectations. Quarterback Matt Ryan led the way vs. the Cardinals by going 30/41 passing for 361 yards and two touchdowns. The running game got a vintage performance from veteran running back Steven Jackson who had 18 carries for 101 yards. His performance gives the team hope that they will be able to count on a running game going forward. Star Wide receiver had a spectacular day with 10 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown. They have now won 3 of their last 4 games overall and need to find a way to stop the Packers their 5th consecutive win. A fast start could be what they need, they got off to a blazing start last week and ended up with an early 17-0 lead. With the Steelers and the Saints still on the schedule the Falcons have a difficult path to take to the division crown.
The Packers have won 4 straight and have done much of it with a balanced offense that features the brilliance and accuracy of quarterback Aaron Rogers. He went 24/38 for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions in last weeks 26-21 victory over The Patriots. The Packers jumped out to an early 13-0 lead but the Patriots rallied for two second quarter touchdowns and held a 14-13 halftime lead. Jordy Nelson had a quiet 53 receiving yards by his standards but came up with the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter and their defense was able to hold the lead the rest of the way in the 26-21 win. Eddie Lacy has had a resurgent second half of the season after a slow start and had 21 carries for 98 yards. Wide receiver Davante Adams stepped up huge with 6 catches for 121 yards while Randall Cobb had 7 grabs for 85 yards.
With the Saints having a much easier schedule than the Falcons for the rest of the season, this game becomes essential for The Falcons playoff chances. They will be hoping for the return of wide receiver Roddy White who missed last weeks win with an ankle injury. Patriot’s cornerback Sam Shields is listed as questionable with a concussion while linebacker Jamari Lattimore injured an ankle last week and may not play.
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