TV: Fox (Ron Pitts, Tony Boselli, Charissa Thompson).
Series: 23rd meeting. The Packers lead 12-10. The Falcons are making their first trip to Green Bay's historic Lambeau Field since Michael Vick led them to a 27-7 playoff victory on Jan. 4, 2003.
Keys to the game: As impressive as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been, all rookie quarterbacks struggle on the road. Ryan is 0-2 with no touchdowns, two interceptions and a 46.9 passer rating away from the Georgia Dome. Fortunately for Ryan, the Packers' defense is allowing 5.2 yards per carry. Running back Michael Turner should be able to churn out yards against a defense allowing 6.1 yards on first down, helping set up Ryan to work against the Packers' beat-up secondary. ... With Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looking like he's on the downside of 50-50 to play, rookie seventh-round pick Matt Flynn has been prepped with the first-team offense all week. Either way, the Packers want to get more out of running back Ryan Grant, who has lacked the explosive burst he had last season, while poor offensive line play has too often backed the offense out of running situations.
Key injuries: Falcons: Left tackle Sam Baker (concussion) and receiver Laurent Robinson (knee) are not expected to play. Packers: Rodgers (shoulder) will be a game-time decision; cornerback Al Harris (spleen) and defensive end Cullen Jenkins (torn pectoral) are out.
Fast facts: Turner and backup Jerious Norwood are both averaging 6.8 yards per carry in the fourth quarter. ... The Packers' 98-32 (.754) home record since 1992 is the best in the NFL.
Inside the Falcons: Action Jackson
Falcons nose tackle Grady Jackson plans to make a triumphant return to Lambeau Field.
Jackson played for the Packers from 2003 to 2005, but feels that when he became a free agent, defensive coordinator Bob Sanders turned his back on him.
"Oh, yeah, I'm looking forward to it," Jackson said. "I want to go up there and prove something to myself. You know, just by them letting me go, I want to go up there and let them know that I've still got it."
Jackson ended up signing with the Falcons ,and the Packers picked up nose tackle Ryan Pickett, a free agent from St. Louis.
"I feel like Coach Sanders threw me under the bus when free agency came," Jackson said. "When you get wind that the personnel (department) was saying that Ryan Pickett is better than Grady Jackson and Sam Adams, that's kind of an insult to me. That's enough momentum to take me in there this week and go play."
Linebacker Keith Brooking has seen Jackson when he gets worked up.
"If Grady is saying that, there's a pretty good chance that he'll come through on that," Brooking said.
Jackson, who comes out on passing downs, has three tackles for loss.
"Grady is a big part of our run game," Brooking said. "He's played well this year."
The Packers are desperate for a victory in the midst of a two-game slide. Yet, they come into the contest extremely banged up. Rodgers is questionable after sustaining a sprained right shoulder in the last game, but he is determined to start the game.
Still, coach/play caller Mike McCarthy may need to scale some things back in his preferred game plan to throw the football. A more simplified plan would be in place if Rodgers can't make the start or has a setback early in the game and untested rookie Matt Flynn has to fill in. Regardless, the Packers have to prevent John Abraham (league-high six sacks) from getting to the quarterback.
This would be an ideal time for the Packers to run the football, but they're struggling in that regard. Green Bay ranks 23rd in the league with an average of 93.5 yards per game — Atlanta, likewise, is 23rd in stopping the run (131.2 average) but has a respectable defensive line anchored by venerable Jackson, a load at nose tackle.
If Rodgers can muster the strength in the ailing arm to throw so much as intermediate passes across the middle to his playmaking receivers, Green Bay would love to pick on suspect defensive backs Brent Grimes, Chris Houston and Chevis Jackson.
The Packers will be under the gun with a patchwork defense to shut down the top-ranked, Turner-led rushing attack of Atlanta, which is averaging 181.8 yards per game. The Falcons have a league-high nine runs of 20-plus yards, while Green Bay's run-challenged unit has allowed six such big runs. Figure the Packers to crowd the box.
Ryan hasn't played well on the road. Although he has a talented target in Roddy White, Ryan has only one touchdown pass since he connected on his first official throw as a pro for a 62-yard scoring strike to Michael Jenkins in the season opener.