There are a number of things the Green Bay Packers need to do to beat the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday. Yet, chief among them, will be holding superstar wide receiver Julio Jones under 200 yards.
Two years ago, the Packers hosted the Falcons at Lambeau Field. At one point, Green Bay led 31-6. Then, Jones took over. He finished with 259 yards that day in a Green Bay win.
The Packers won that night, but if Jones has a repeat performance, it’s hard to see Green Bay escaping the Georgia Dome with a win.
So how do the Packers go about stopping Jones? Well containing him? The answer to that question is a difficult one.
First off, the Packers will be without their top two corners in Sam Shields and Damarious Randall. Quinten Rollins, the third corner, may not play either, meaning LaDarius Gunter will be the guy covering Jones most of the night.
Gunter has held up well at times this season. He played extraordinarily well against Odell Beckham Jr., who was limited just five receptions for 56 yards a few weeks ago, none of which came against the former rookie free agent form Miami.
Gunter also held Chicago Bears’ star Alshon Jeffrey in check last week. So he’s proven he can handle big-time receivers. But stopping Jones is an entirely different phenomenon.
While Gunter will need to play great. He will certainly need help and not just from safeties over the top. In fact, the best way the Packers can assist the young corner is by pressuring Matt Ryan, early and often.
Green Bay comes into the game with 16 sacks. But after struggling to generate them the past two weeks, players like Nick Perry, Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews (if he plays) will need to step up.
Yet, the bottom line is that the Packers can’t expect to stop Jones — he’s simply too good. However, they hope to can contain him and as long as they can keep him below 200 yards, they will have a good chance of leaving Atlanta at 5-2.