Game Day: Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons

KEY MATCHUP: Falcons' QB Chris Chandler vs. No. 2-ranked Packer "D" Atlanta QB Chris Chandler has convinced Falcons' coach Dan Reeves he can play in today's game vs. the Packers at Lambeau Field despite sore ribs. Now Chandler has to convince himself that the flak jacket will be enough to protect him from one of the NFL's most potent sack attacks

Chandler sat out last week after suffering cartilage damage in his rib cage Nov. 4 vs. the Patriots.

"It's fine, nothing I can't handle," Chandler said. "We need a win and I'll be ready." The 14th-year veteran will have to get past the Packer pass rush, led by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila who holds second place on the NFC sack list with 10 (trailing the Giants' Michael Strahan with 15). The Packers' defense ranks second in the NFL vs. the pass and fifth vs. the run for a No. 2 overall ranking.

Atlanta comes in decided underdog at Green Bay, where the Packers have won nine straight games, the Falcons have an exponentially better chance of springing an upset with Chandler starting. Atlanta is just 2-12 the past three seasons in games Chandler either missed or failed to finish because of injury. Last week, however, Michael Vick and Doug Johnson teamed to get the job dones as the Falcons beat the hapless Cowboys.

Packers veteran safety LeRoy Butler, one of the only players on the field who has been around nearly as long as Chandler, said even when injured Chandler provides the Packers with the biggest challenge the Falcons can offer.

"Nothing against the other (quarterbacks), but they are just a different team with him in there, a lot more confident team," Green Bay strong safety Butler said.

Chandler will be without one of his weapons, tight end Reggie Kelly, who missed practice all week with a knee injury. Kelly will be replaced by rookie Alge Crumpler, the Falcons' second-round pick.


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