After a 10-day layoff, the Green Bay Packers return to action this Sunday at Lambeau Field against the Atlanta Falcons. This game was originally scheduled to be a Sunday night matchup, but after the early decline of the Falcons and the recent plummet of the Packers, the NFL wisely flexed this game into a Sunday afternoon time slot.
Atlanta is 3-9 and has already been eliminated from postseason contention. Their sole purpose now is to ruin everyone else’s party. It’s hardly a party in Green Bay, however. The Packers, once 5-2, have not won in five straight games and sit at 5-6-1. But the Packers always seem to be in the thick of divisional races down to the wire and despite their horrid play over the past month, are still just a game and a half out of first place.
The big question this week is whether or not Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be cleared to return. As of Wednesday, Rodgers was practicing with the team (in pads), but still had not been cleared to return to game action. Matt Flynn was taking reps with the starters in practice and will start if Rodgers can’t go.
Earlier this week, I dubbed this game the “Horrible Bowl” and I stand behind that moniker. Whichever team emerges the loser this week can officially call themselves “horrible”. It would give the Falcons double-digit losses for the first time since 2007 when they finished 4-12. It would drop the Packers to 5-7-1 and with eight wins the highest total they can achieve this season. It would be the team’s worst finish since 2008 when they went 6-10.
This could be the shortest “Keys” post to date by simply stating “Score more points than the Falcons” but let’s attempt to dive a little deeper into this contest and what we will likely see.
Green Bay’s Offensive Line Health
Missing practice this week for the Packers were center Evan Dietrich-Smith and left tackle David Bakhtiari.