The Falcons hardly have been so formidable, and their 2-2 start puts them third in what might be the NFL’s best division, the NFC South. Atlanta lost only three games in 2010, so if Mr. Rodgers and company continue lighting it up, the Falcons could find themselves in a huge hole.
“It’s fun playing teams like this on Sunday night. The atmosphere, we know what that’s going to be like,” Rodgers said. “We beat them last year pretty good down there. They’re upset about that, I’m sure. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”
Rodgers’ counterpart with the Falcons, Matt Ryan, hasn’t forgotten that 48-21 pasting.
“It takes a little while to get over, but you have to move past it,” Ryan said. “You have to learn from it. Not only myself — I know I used it as motivation throughout the offseason . … That’s part of playing in this league is you’re going to make some mistakes and you’re going to make some plays that don’t go the way you want. It’s how you respond to those type of things, and I think I’ve had the right response.”
Green Bay certainly has responded in style after its surge from wild card to champion.
“We think this is going to be a hot game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re excited to go down there and play on the big national stage. We’re fully aware probably of how they feel about us. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The other unbeaten team, Detroit, hosts Chicago on Monday night.
Also Sunday, it’s Tampa Bay at San Francisco, the New York Jets at New England, Oakland at Houston, San Diego at Denver, Philadelphia at Buffalo, Tennessee at Pittsburgh, New Orleans at Carolina, Seattle at the New York Giants, Cincinnati at Jacksonville, Arizona at Minnesota, and Kansas City at Indianapolis.
Off this week are Baltimore (3-1), Cleveland (2-2), Dallas (2-2), Miami (0-4), St. Louis (0-4), and Washington (3-1).