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Packers-Falcons matchup of the day: Friday

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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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 offensive line vs. Falcons defensive line

Overachievement has been the key for both these units so far this season. Green Bay's offensive line has performed much better the first 10 games of this season than it did through the first 10 games in 2009, benefiting from the same five starters for much of the season. Atlanta's undersized defensive line has been more effective than not, depending a lot of the time on slants and stunts to compensate for its smallish stature.

The most high-profile matchup pits veteran Packers OLT Chad Clifton, who has been solid, and at times dominant, so far this season, against veteran Falcons DRE John Abraham, who is among the NFC's leading sackers with eight. Abraham did not play last week against St. Louis because of a groin injury, but he went from not participating in the Falcons' Wednesday practice to participating on a limited basis on Thursday and probably will be ready for Sunday. Even though he is getting up there in years, Abraham's excellent combination of power and athleticism makes him very dangerous.

But perhaps the most dangerous D-lineman at present for the Falcons is three-technique DT Jonathan Babineaux, who has been very disruptive both against the run and pass lately. Babineaux's penetration was primarily responsible for a key late fourth-quarter shovel-pass interception against the Rams last week, and his non-stop motor and above-average quickness and athleticism could cause problems for Packers OGs Josh Sitton, who has quietly been playing at a Pro Bowl level, and Daryn Colledge.

Packers C Scott Wells, who is battling an arch injury, will be taking on Falcons third-round rookie NT Corey Peters, who has been battling a rib injury and could be spelled more than usual by long-armed second-year pro Vance Walker.

Colledge is still considered the weakest link on the Packers' O-line, but he is playing a lot better than he did last season, especially in pass protection.

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