Keys to victory

Here are three keys for the Green Bay Packers to be successful in their regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday:<p>

Passing fancy: The Packers' first-team offense did next to nothing in the first three preseason games. Was that a mirage, or are there some problems with this unit? The top item on the training camp agenda was getting quarterback Brett Favre acclimated to his new receiving corps. But projected No. 1 receiver Terry Glenn missed the first three preseason games, and neither Robert Ferguson, Donald Driver or Javon Walker distinguished himself. It may be unrealistic to expect Glenn to be a star immediately, so someone other than running back Ahman Green must get open for Favre.

Vanquish Vick: Michael Vick is basically a rookie quarterback. That's the good news. The Packers' defense has no idea what it's in for. That's the bad news. Vick is as athletic as he is raw. The strength of the Packers' defense may be the pass rush, with Vonnie Holliday, Joe Johnson and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila all pushing from the edge. When they attack Vick, though, they better keep him in the pocket. If Vick escapes contain, the Packers have nobody fast enough to catch Vick, and the lefty has a rocket arm to make plays if he buys time.

Patience: If the Packers' defense is patient, the Falcons shouldn't be able to score enough points to win this game. The Cleveland Browns, in the third preseason game, exposed a few chinks in the Packers' defensive armor. Browns quarterback Tim Couch took advantage of the Packers' pass rush by completing several screen passes. That flaw should be rectified through coaching by now. If the Packers can contain Vick and speedy Warrick Dunn, Atlanta will be hard pressed to mount 80-yard TD drives.


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