The Atlanta Falcons now sit at 4-8 on the season and currently hold a top ten pick in the upcoming NFL draft. They put up a decent fight against the Ravens, but their defense proved to be too much for the Atlanta offense. Not only was Ryan held under 200 yards passing for the first time this season, but the entire offense only had 131 total yards on the day. That 131 yards of total offense was the lowest amount in the Ryan era. Atlanta technically hasn’t been eliminated from the playoffs yet, but it would take a Christmas miracle for them to find their way in. Let’s dive in to what you need to know ahead of this week’s game.

Deion Jones

Without question Atlanta’s communicator on the defense, Deion Jones, was sorely missed. Jones got his first start since week 1 against the Eagles and made his presence felt. Only linebacker, De’Vondre Campbell, played more snaps at linebacker this week. Of the 81 snaps on defense Campbell played 70, while Jones played 64. He led the team in tackles, with fifteen combined, also having one sack in the game. Atlanta didn’t get the win, but the defense is much better with Jones, who is arguably top five at his position.

Offensive Line

Atlanta’s offensive line has been very bad this year. Ryan has been sacked thirty-six times through twelve games so far this season. Atlanta has surrendered eighty-one knockdowns heading into week 13, which was the most in the league. Ryan was hit eight times in the week 13 contest, the 5th most. He has been hit ninety-eight times this season, which is tied with Houston for most in the league. You get the gist of it, Ryan is getting wrecked this season.Through week 13 Green Bay has only produced sixty-five quarterback hits, tied for 6th worst. Let’s pray that Atlanta can keep Ryan upright this week.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers hold the all-time series against the Falcons at 17-16. They have a record of 15-14 in head-to-head matchups in the regular season, while they split the postseason series at 2-2. Since Matt Ryan was drafted he is 5-4 against Green Bay. Atlanta has won their last three matchups. All three of those games were in Atlanta.

Mike McCarthy was relieved of his duties last week after their loss to the Cardinals. Joe Philbin will be the interim coach and take over play-calling duties. Much like the Falcons, the Packers have struggled this season. Bland play-calling on offense and injuries across the board have hurt them.  This will be the 2nd time this season Atlanta has faced an interim head coach on the road. Will the change along the coaching staff have the Pack recharged, or will Atlanta continue their winning streak against them?

Final Thoughts

This season has been a huge letdown. Atlanta is currently in last place in the NFC South and only four teams have a worse record than they currently do. Whether they win out, or lose out this team will be a forced to be reckoned with next season. When fully healthy Atlanta can compete with anyone in the league. Throw in a potential top 5-10 draft pick and this team will be right back in the hunt, trying to bring home Atlanta’s first Lomardi trophy.

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