By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Falcons know it won’t be easy to contain a powerful Green Bay attack led by Aaron Rodgers.
They’re hoping a new motto — “All Gas, No Brakes” — provides motivation in Sunday night’s game.
Atlanta players are wearing caps with the motto this week because they know only a relentless pursuit will bring down Rodgers, whose ability to scramble causes major problems for defenses.
Defensive end Brooks Reed said Thursday that when Rodgers starts moving around “it’s kind of like the play just started. It’s the length of two plays. You’ve got to have your breath and be in good shape to be running around that much. It’ll be important.”
Reed had two of Atlanta’s four sacks in last week’s 23-17 win at Chicago.
It was an important start for a defense which indeed lost its collective breath — and a big lead — in its Super Bowl loss to New England.
By The Associated Press
GREEN BAY (1-0) at ATLANTA (1-0)
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. EDT, NBC
OPENING LINE — Falcons by 2
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Green Bay 1-0, Atlanta 0-1
SERIES RECORD — Packers lead 17-15
LAST MEETING — Falcons beat Packers 44-21, Jan. 22 in NFC championship game
LAST WEEK — Packers beat Seahawks 17-9; Falcons beat Bears 23-17
AP PRO32 RANKING — Packers No. 1, Falcons No. 5
PACKERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (15), PASS (6)
PACKERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (5t), RUSH (17), PASS (4)
FALCONS OFFENSE — OVERALL (6), RUSH (19t), PASS (4)
FALCONS DEFENSE — OVERALL (15), RUSH (23), PASS (9t)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Weather permitting, new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium to have retractable roof open for first event. … Falcons’ last home open-air game was Dec. 15, 1991 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. … Falcons beat Packers in 2016 regular season and NFC championship game, final game at Georgia Dome. … QB Aaron Rodgers averages 325.6 yards passing, with 19 TDs, seven interceptions, in seven career games against Falcons, including playoffs. … Rodgers needs two TD passes to become 11th in NFL with 300. … DT Mike Daniels, LB Nick Perry each had 1 ½ sacks last week. … WR Jordy Nelson has four TDs in last three games against Falcons. … Packers moved to top spot in AP Pro32 with Patriots loss. … Packers held Seahawks to 50 yards rushing last week. SS Morgan Burnett played ILB to boost run defense with six defensive backs on field. … Falcons second-year TE Austin Hooper coming off career-high 128 yards receiving, including 88-yard TD. … WR Julio Jones had nine catches, 180 yards, two TDs in NFC championship game. … LB Brooks Reed had two sacks last week. … QB Matt Ryan has averaged 351.6 yards passing last three games against Packers, with 11 TDs, one interception. … After leading NFL with 15 ½ sacks in 2016, LB Vic Beasley had one sack last week. … Falcons had four sacks against Bears. … After leading NFL with 158 points in 2016, PK Matt Bryant scored 11 points, making each of three field goals and two extra points last week. … Fantasy Tip: Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel may be ready for bigger role after having only three catches for 36 yards against Bears. Gabriel believes he’s fully recovered from lower leg injury. Gabriel had 47-yard TD catch in regular-season win over Packers last season. He could benefit from extra attention paid to Jones.
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