Welcome to your game day Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers and their showdown with the Atlanta Falcons from around the web and here at PackersNews.com. Grab a cup of coffee (or brew some tea) and get caught up on everything you need to know about the Packers.
First up, a bit of an overnight surprise, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported at approximately 1:30 a.m. local time that Randall Cobb is not expected to play in Sunday’s game.
It will be interesting to see how the Packers adjust to the potential absence of Cobb with an offense that seemed to be at its best spreading things out with multiple receivers last week.
Regardless, the best place to start when getting ready for Sunday's matchup is Bob McGinn’s game preview.
The Falcons lead the NFL in average gain on first down at 8.2 yards, which in turn sets up their entire top-ranked offense. “If you let them play-action pass and run the ball a little bit they’ll be tough,” an assistant coach for a recent Atlanta opponent said. With a substantial gain on first down, quarterback Matt Ryan likes to go bombs away. “They take shots, that’s what they do,” an executive in personnel said.
This dovetails nicely into Pete Dougherty’s latest column, which examines the role the Packers’ run defense will play in attempting to shut down the league’s offense.No. 1
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be trying to stop a sophisticated veteran quarterback and a singular receiver while missing his top three cornerbacks (injured Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins). He and his assistants have had a long week.
But the Jones matchup against the Packers’ second-string cornerbacks makes it even more crucial for Capers’ run defense to play up to its No. 1 ranking. It’s a part of the game that rarely catches eyes or produces game-changing plays, but this is true nonetheless: For the Packers to have a chance, they have to shut down Freeman on early downs while still gearing their game plan around Jones.
McGinn also has the latest on where things stand long-term between the Packers and guard T.J. Lang.
Michael Cohen writes on the limited number of snaps that are available for defensive linemen in Dom Capers defense, which is rarely in base these days.
This year, the Falcons rank fifth in completion percentage (67.6), second in passer rating (113.5) and first in touchdown percentage (6.6). That’s good work, but those numbers – or something similar – get posted by one team or another nearly every season.
What truly sets Atlanta apart is how well it stretches the field. The Falcons are averaging 14.2 yards per completion and 9.62 yards per pass attempt. Both averages are well ahead of those of the second-place Patriots (12.5; 8.80).
Think of 14.0 and 9.0 as ceilings. Since 1991, only four teams have cracked 14.0 and just two have exceeded 9.0.
The Falcons are in a position to join those short lists.
On the other side, here are five things to know about today’s game from the Falcons’ perspective.
Gary Gramling writes that Packers fans shouldn’t be optimistic that their team’s offense is “back.”
Could Ted Thompson make two surprising trades in one season?
Kentrell Brice is turning heads on special teams.
Eye In the Sky is a great source for breaking down Packers tape. He has a bunch of observations off the coaches tape from the Bears game,
Speaking of the Bears, the NFL’s oldest rivalry knows no borders.
Packers fans showed up in droves for the team’s pep rally in downtown Atlanta on Saturday:
Be sure to check out Cliff Christl’s latest column for the team’s official site. In his latest, Christl takes a look at the history of the general manager position in Green Bay and what Vince Lombardi thought of the “Runner Up Bowl” the league used to hold for the teams that fell just short of the championship game.
Finally, Packers fans are showing off their pumpkin carving skills to get ready for Halloween.