Falcons wishin', hopin' against Packers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after last week's win over the Broncos pushed...

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after last week's win over the Broncos pushed his team to 4-0. They play the Falcons Sunday night. (Getty Images)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:00 PM ET

TORONTO - The Atlanta Falcons defence isn’t intimidating anybody and isn’t stopping anybody and that’s a bad combination.

After an unimpressive 2-2 start to their season, the Falcons are rewarded with a Sunday night home game against the Green Bay Packers, a rematch of last year’s Divisional playoff round where they were whipped and ripped 48-21 by the Pack.

Last year the Falcons were vulnerable to the pass as they ranked 22nd in the league. It was an area that was exploited by Aaron Rodgers in the playoff loss.

This season the Falcons have dropped a couple of notches in that department and after four games they are tied for 24th in pass defence.

So, it doesn’t look like a good matchup this week against the Pack.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith is looking at the upcoming game in a realistic fashion — he knows there’s no way they are going to shoot down Green Bay’s passing game. His hope is to limit the damage.

“We gave up a lot of passing yards (in their win over Seattle last Sunday),” Smith said the other day. “So each and every day as a coaching staff or as a football team you have concerns. This one is obvious.

“We are not going to stop these guys (Packers). We have to slow them down. They are playing outstanding football, especially in the passing game. Aaron Rodgers is operating about as effectively as you can.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Smith continued. “We have to make sure we put some pressure on (Rodgers). That’s going to be important. We have to make sure we win our one-on-one matchups in the pass rush when we get them. And we’ve got to make sure we win our one-on-one matchups out in the secondary and with the linebackers.”

Two words for the Falcons — good luck.

BEARS ARE REALLY SPECIAL

When it comes to specials teams, the Chicago Bears are in a class of their own.

They have the best returner in the game in Devin Hester and he once again showed his talent in Sunday’s win over Carolina with a touchdown off a 69-yard punt return. He also had a 73-yard kickoff return.

In discussing the play of his special teams units, Bears coach Lovie Smith said the results is no secret, that it’s a by-product of the work they put into it.

The Bears treat special teams as something special and work hard at it and that approach has rewarded them with added benefits for the past few seasons. Of course, it all starts with having a returner as gifted as Hester.

“A lot of times you see an extra point blocked, or a field goal, you see teams go through the motions,” Smith said. “But we don’t do that. Our guys really go all out, and that block, of course, was a big play.”

Hester, meanwhile, singled out special teams coach Dave Toub for praise.

“Coach Dave is probably one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL,” Hester said. “He finds ways to utilize his players. Some could be under-sized, some could be big. But he always finds a way to put them in the right position and it shows on game day. It helps out a lot.”

And it’s one of the best weapons the Bears have going for them game in and game out.


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