Packers-Falcons matchup of the day: Tuesday

Posted Nov. 23, 2010 @ 4:24 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into the Week 12 game between the Packers and Falcons in Atlanta.

Packers' run defense vs. Falcons RBs Michael Turner and Jason Snelling

The Packers are ranked a below-average 18th in rushing yards allowed and a lowly 26th in average gain per rush. But in the last three games, which included matchups against the Jets’ formidable RB duo of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene in Week Eight and, more recently, NFC-leading rusher Adrian Peterson, the Packers have allowed only 83.6 rushing yards per game and have done a great job of maintaining their gaps and making most of their tackles count.

They will have to keep it up against Turner, a tackle-breaker of the highest order who wears down defenses when he gets on a roll, and Snelling, who is smaller than Turner but can be dangerous. Snelling is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield with a combined nine catches for 82 yards and a TD in wins the last two weeks over the Ravens (6-56-1) and Rams.

Turner, who romped for 131 yards and a TD on 28 carries against St. Louis, was only the second back this season to run for more than 100 yards against the Rams’ greatly improved defense. Lately, he has been tough to stop, with three 100-yard rushing efforts and five TDs in his last four games.

Key run defenders this Sunday for the Packers figure to include DE Ryan Pickett, who seems to be slowly but surely getting over an ankle injury; NT B.J. Raji, who has been stout up the gut all season; and the team’s three leading tacklers — in order, ILB A.J. Hawk, CB Charles Woodson and ILB Desmond Bishop.