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J.R. Augustine writes for the Green Bay Packers blog, GreenBay Packer Nation.  You can follow him on Twitter @GPN_JR.

Packers Keys to Victory Over the Falcons

The Packers meet the Falcons on Saturday and they’re hungry to avenge a three-point loss from earlier this season. Here’s what they need to get that revenge and knock a second bird out of the playoffs.

Packers Defensive Keys

Shut Down Michael Turner
Michael Turner and Atlanta’s plans for him are no secret to anyone in the league. He’s going to come at you hard, running straight north and south, and he’s going to dare you to stop him. If the Packers hope to beat the Falcons the first thing they’ll have to do is stop Turner. So far this year, they’ve been lackluster in that category, sitting firmly in the middle of the league in run defense at #18. However, the return of Cullen Jenkins to the field should give the Packers added help in that area.

Bring the Pressure to Ryan
Clay Matthews and the Packers exotic blitz packages could really wreak havok on the Falcon’s passing game. Matt Ryan is #4 in sacks per pass attempt and the Falcons haven’t met a team with the same QB pressure the Packers bring. If the Pack can keep the pocket colapsing on Ryan and track him down in the sprint game it could be a long night for Matt.

Packers Offensive Keys

Yardage on Key Runs
I don’t expect James Starks to have another 100 yard game against a good run defense like the Falcons. However, the Packers will need to get some key production out of Starks in order to keep the Falcons defense honest.

Throw Often
Look for Mike McCarthy to go heavier on the pass offense in this game. The Falcons have a good run defense, but they’ve struggled against the pass. Atlanta has speed and will come with pressure, so the Packers should have success with screens and the short game.

Receivers Must Catch the Ball
I mentioned this last game and the Packers did improve in this category, but they still had some key drops against the Eagles including a sure touchdown drop by James Jones. The Packers were able to dodge the bullet against the Eagles because their run game kept them moving the sticks, but this will be even more critical as the Packers will likely throw more than they did against Philadelphia.

Avoid the close game. The Packer need to jump out early in this game and stay far ahead. In games with less than a seven point differential, the Falcons are 6-2 while the Packers are an appauling 2-6 in close games this season.