Packers-Falcons: Game snapshot

Facts and figures for today's game

Green Bay Packers (1-7) at Atlanta Falcons (6-2)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET

WHERE: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.

SURFACE: FieldTurf

TV: FOX, Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa

SERIES: 24th meeting. The Packers lead the series 12-11, dating to 1966. The teams are meeting in Atlanta for the first time since 1992, where the Falcons have won the last four times, going back to 1983. There have been two postseason encounters between the intraconference teams, both occurring in Green Bay in the NFC wild-card round. The Packers won 37-20 in 1995, while the Falcons prevailed 27-7 during the 2002 season to hand Green Bay its first home playoff loss. It's the last time the teams have met.

2005 RANKINGS: Packers: offense 17th (30th rush, 5th pass); defense 9th (13th rush, 12th pass). Falcons: offense 14th (1st rush, 28th pass); defense 18th (18th rush, 17th pass)

PREDICTION: Falcons 20-13

KEYS TO THE GAME: To avoid their third loss in three indoor games this season, the Packers must find a way to run the ball. The starting job will likely go to undrafted rookie free agent RB Samkon Gado, but whoever gets the bulk of the carries needs to take advantage of a Falcons run defense allowing 4.6 yards per carry. Atlanta wants to bring heat to force QB Brett Favre into mistakes downfield, and the Falcons will have success unless Favre gets help from his running game. The Packers defense is allowing just 3.6 yards per carry, but will be going up against the league's top-ranked running attack (184.9 yards per game). If Atlanta gets an early lead and can grind the game out, it should roll to an easy victory. So generating an early score or two and forcing QB Michael Vick to make plays with his arm becomes critical for the Packers.

FAST FACTS: First meeting in Atlanta since 1992. Packers: Current average of 71.9 rushing yards per game would break franchise record low of 85.6 set in 1990. ... Favre has completed passes to 16 different receivers, his most since 1998, also 16. Falcons: Are 11-2 at home under coach Jim Mora. ... RB Warrick Dunn needs 180 rushing yards for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.

PERSONNEL NEWS
Packers:
-- The injury epidemic at running back festered, as backup Walt Williams hurt his left hamstring 20 minutes into practice Thursday. He was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

"This is crazy. That's all I can say," Williams said of joining the team's extensive list of injured backs.

Four-time Pro Bowler Ahman Green (torn quadriceps) and top backup Najeh Davenport (broken ankle) are out for the rest of the season. Tony Fisher, the third-down back who had been elevated to starter two games ago, is out indefinitely with a broken rib.

Undrafted rookie Samkon Gado will make his first pro start Sunday at Atlanta. ReShard Lee, who started last Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh but was pulled after fumbling on his second carry, is second on the depth chart.

Williams has assumed the third-down role after re-signing with the team Oct. 25.

-- WR Robert Ferguson didn't practice Thursday and Friday, and is unlikely to play Sunday. He's on the injury report as questionable because of a torn lateral collateral ligament in his left knee. The injury has kept Ferguson out the last two games, and he said it needs more time to heal.

Antonio Chatman would make his third straight start in Ferguson's place.

-- TE David Martin didn't practice and likely won't play Sunday. The backup is questionable with a strained groin that has sidelined him the last two games.

-- C Mike Flanagan practiced after missing a day and is probable for Sunday's game. However, Flanagan, who's dealing with lingering pain in his groin area from Oct. 5 surgery for a sports hernia, split reps with Grey Ruegamer with the first-string offense. It's possible Flanagan will need to come out of the game for a series or two.

-- LT Chad Clifton practiced after missing a day because of an ankle injury he aggravated last Sunday. Clifton is probable to play this weekend, though he didn't take all of the reps with the starting unit. Adrian Klemm, demoted this week from the starting spot at left guard in favor of Scott Wells, has been getting reps in case he would need to take over for Clifton.

-- DT Corey Williams remains out with a strained right calf, which he suffered in the last game. The backup won't play Sunday.

Falcons:
-- RB T.J. Duckett was ready and willing last week at Miami, but now it appears he also is able to return to the field. Duckett remains questionable on the injury report, but he says he feels no significant pain when he plants, cuts, changes direction or runs straight ahead.

-- RB Warrick Dunn, a ninth-year veteran, is too valuable for the Falcons to let him run the football 25-30 times against a 1-7 team from another division. That's another reason the return of Duckett, who last played Oct. 16 against the Saints, would help.

-- MLB Keith Brooking has praised the attitude that rookies Michael Boley, Antoine Cash and John Leake have shown since joining the team in April. The same goes for third-round pick Jordan Beck. Brooking says all four are willing to learn and accept critiques.

-- S Ronnie Heard and LB Ike Reese both are working hard in practice to impress coaches and play some on defense. Both players are relegated mostly to special teams.

-- S Antuan Edwards doesn't want to say if another injury, possibly a hand, is holding him back, but the seventh-year veteran appears no closer to earning snaps than he was as a newcomer last week.


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