To take down the Green Bay Packers on Sunday the Atlanta Falcons will have to play even better than they did against the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday. The Pack have the NFL's best point differential by 36 points -- and that's the biggest margin between any two teams in the entire league. Going by pure points production alone, they've been better than the Pittsburgh Steelers by a greater margin than the Arizona Cardinals have been better than the Carolina Panthers.
You heard me correctly: they're the opposite of the Panthers, but even more so. How scary is that?
QB Aaron Rodgers has been one of the league's best quarterbacks for three years now. In LB Clay Matthews they might have the NFL Defensive Player of the Year this year, and he's backed by last year's winner of the award, CB Charles Woodson. On the other side they've got CB Tramon Williams, who's allowed one catch of 20 yards or more all year. Roddy White has his work cut out no matter where he lines up.
Top ten or close to it in just about every statistical category, they have very, very few weaknesses. The one edge Falcons fans should hope the Birds can exploit: Green Bay's rushing defense has allowed 119 or more yards in all but three games this season, including 196 to Adrian Peterson and company. Their secondary will also be dinged up, as they'll be without both Atari Bigby and Anthony Smith after losing Morgan Burnett earlier this year.
But still, this team has dealt with big injuries all year long. Of their three losses, two were in overtime and the other was by a single point. Other than that they've been flattening teams, shutting out the New York Jets in New York, ending Wade Phillips' career as Dallas Cowboys coach, and then doing the same for Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress. Win this game, and the Falcons are hands-down one of the NFC's two best teams and the favorite to win home field advantage. Lose it, and the rest of the NFC South is right back in the division race.