They've crossed paths only two times, both during the 2002 season, and Green Bay offered little resistance to Vick's running exploits. He gained 72 yards in only nine carries in Atlanta's overtime loss at Lambeau Field in the season opener, then exacted payback at the same venue four months later by breaking free for 64 yards in 10 rushes to spark the Falcons' dominating win in the first round of the playoffs. How effective they are in containing Vick, more so than Warrick Dunn, figures to tell the tale of whether the Packers' sixth-rated run defense are able to come away with some success against the Falcons' peerless run game.
Packers coach Mike Sherman vs. Falcons defensive coordinator Ed Donatell
Packers fans will always remember "Fourth-and-26," and many still contend Sherman made Donatell out as the scapegoat when he fired him following the Packers' stunning defeat at Philadelphia in the divisional playoffs during the 2003 season.
Donatell quickly landed on his feet with Jim Mora in Atlanta and has the Falcons playing in much the same ferocious way as his Packers defenses from 2000 to '03, when they had a league-high 144 takeaways. Donatell knows the Packers offense well and, while he won't say it, undoubtedly is champing at the bit to outfox Sherman, Green Bay's play caller for the offense.
Packers LG Scott Wells vs. Falcons DT Rod Coleman
Wells, a second-year pro, will get his first start at left guard in place of the ineffective Adrian Klemm. Wells will be going up against Coleman, a seventh-year pro who has 7.0 sacks, eight quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, four passes defensed and 23 tackles in eight games this season. Coleman has had the most sacks in the NFL by an interior lineman over the past four seasons with 34.