PACKERS HOST FALCONS IN CONFERENCE BATTLE
-Green Bay looks to end its first two-game losing skid since 2006 when it welcomes NFC South foe Atlanta to Lambeau Field Sunday.
-Last weekend, the Packers fell to the Bucs in Tampa Bay, 30-21, and return to Green Bay with plenty to work on. At 2-2, they stand tied atop the NFC North with the Chicago Bears.
-Winners of 10 of its last 12 regular-season home games, Green Bay hosts a Falcons club that has won just one of its last 11 road games.
-Sunday will be the 272nd consecutive sellout (256 regular season, 16 playoffs) at Lambeau Field, the league's longest-tenured stadium.
-The all-time series between the two clubs stands nearly even. The Packers hold a slight edge at 12-10-0.
-Atlanta makes its first appearance at Lambeau Field since the 2002 Wild Card Playoffs, when Atlanta became the first NFL opponent to win a postseason game at Lambeau Field. Previously undefeated at Lambeau Field in playoff games (13-0) and during the '02 home schedule (8-0), the Packers fell behind early and never recovered.
-The Falcons had visited Lambeau Field early that season - their last regular-season visit - with the Packers prevailing 37-34 in overtime.
-Both teams have overturned their rosters since then, as each has few players remaining (Atlanta - 4, Green Bay - 5) from the '02 teams.
-Fresh off a 24-9 defeat at Carolina, Atlanta comes into the game 2-2.
AGAINST ROOKIE SIGNAL CALLERS
-Matt Ryan, the No. 3 overall pick, will become the third rookie quarterback to start against the Packers in the Mike McCarthy era.
-Ryan, who naturally has been up and down in his first four games, has performed much better at home (2-0) than on the road (0-2) thus far. A look at the numbers:
127.5 QB Rtg.
Away from Home:
46.9 QB Rtg.
-Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders will be in charge of formulating a gameplan to stop Ryan and the Falcons this Sunday. Twice before with the Packers, he has been assigned with stopping a rookie quarterback.
-Against Matt Leinart and the Arizona Cardinals in Oct. 2006, the defense surrendered 218 total net yards (132 passing) and totaled four sacks and an interception.
-Later that season against Minnesota and Tarvaris Jackson, the Packers defense allowed just three first downs and 104 total net yards while racking up three sacks.
-A look at how rookie QBs have fared against Green Bay over the last two seasons under McCarthy and Sanders:
51.7 QB Rtg.
35.4 QB Rtg.
STOPPING THE RUN A MUST
-Green Bay's defense has struggled against the run this year, allowing three 100-yard rushers in its first four games.
-Sunday it faces the league's top-ranked run offense in Atlanta, which comes in averaging over 180 yards on the ground per game.
-Michael Turner got things going in Week 1, rushing for a franchise-record 220 yards on 22 carries as the team totaled over 300 yards.
-Turner leads all NFL backs with 422 rushing yards and is tied for the lead with five rushing scores. Backup Jerious Norwood has 237 rushing yards, good for 19th in the NFL and 11 spots higher than the first Packers player (Ryan Grant, 30th, 186 yards).
WHAT 2-2 MEANS IN THE LONG RUN
-It's no secret that early success dramatically increases a team's chances to make the postseason.
-After winning their first two games, the Packers have dropped two in a row to end the first quarter of the season at 2-2.
-The Packers traditionally have done well in the first month of the season. Over the past 11 seasons (1998-2008), Green Bay's opening-month record stands at 24-15 (.615), fourth best in the NFL over that time. Only Indianapolis (25-11, .694), Denver (26-13, .667) and Seattle (24-13, .648) have a better record in the opening month of the season.
-Perhaps most importantly about the 2-2 start is the fact that both wins have come against NFC North clubs.
-One only needs to look to 2007 to see what impact a fast start can and can't have. Of the four teams to reach the conference championship, only Green Bay and New England stood at 4-0. The eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants were 2-2, while San Diego was just 1-3.
-A look at NFL teams' records through the first quarter of the year and the rate at which each got to the playoffs, compiled from 1990-2007:
**Record through 4 games (% of teams in playoffs)
WEARING THE STRIPES
Today's officiating crew includes referee Carl Cheffers (51), umpire Garth DeFelice (53), head linesman Kent Payne (79), line judge Chuck Stewart (62), field judge Jim Saracino (58), side judge Jeff Lamberth (103) and back judge Dino Paganelli (105).
The Packers hit the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks at 3:15pm CDT, while the Falcons return home to face the Chicago Bears. **