Matt Ryan of the Falcons will face-off with Aaron Rodgers of the Packers in a rematch of their epic playoff game from last season. The NFL was wise to pit these two teams against one another knowing that they would be very good again this season. Matt Ryan is more than capable of throwing for 400 yards in this game, and Aaron Rodgers could be just as effective in his performance. The Falcons must show us how ready they are for the playoffs. We can safely assume that they will go back, but we need to know how good they will be when they get there.

Trust Aaron Rodgers

We merely need to see Aaron Rodgers be great against a good team to be reminded that he is probably the second best player in all of football. We are not testing the Packers so much as we are testing the Falcons. We must have a better idea of how Matt Ryan responds to such good play on the other side of the ball. This game, after all, is all about Matt Ryan's ability to lead.

How will Atlanta respond after losing Super Bowl?

The loser of the Super Bowl rarely goes back to the playoffs, and that is because of their hard schedule, loss of players who left in free agency, and sudden retirements at the height of glory. The Falcons are basically the same team they were last year except their defense is better.

They have to be good enough to break the loser syndrome because they are expected to be very good. The city of Atlanta is very tense right now because they think that this team should be given an open door to the playoffs. However, the Falcons have to beat teams like the Packers to get back there. This is where we diverge from typical predictions.

This writer is not interested in whether or not the Falcons win or lose. This writer is very interested in how they play. A competitive performance from the Falcons at home to open their stadium is a good sign. Anything that looks lackluster or lethargic is a major problem.

The new defense

The new defense in Atlanta has to look good against the Packers because this is the kind of team they were built to defend.

The Falcons are looking ahead in every move they make to defeat teams like the Packers. They almost seem unconcerned with the rest of the league because they know they are competing with a few teams for the right to go to the Super Bowl. A defensive performance for the ages would tell fans that the Falcons are for real. A bad performance from their defense would echo sentiments from last week in Chicago where the team did not look right. Which Falcons team will we get?