The Green Bay Packers opened the 2017 NFL season with a hard fought win over the Seattle Seahawks in a game that might be a preview of the playoffs this season. However, both teams still have to get past the Atlanta Falcons, who beat Green Bay in the NFC Championship game last season before losing to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. While Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that he is not interested in looking back at that loss, he is likely more concerned with the differences between the two teams this year as they face off in Week 2 of the season.

Packers injured offensive line

In the NFC Championship game last year, the two teams battled in a high scoring contest, and the Atlanta Falcons were able to come out on top by the end of the game. This season, both the Falcons and Packers improved their defenses, so most analysts don’t expect a lot of scoring. That could be even more accurate for the Packers, who have to face a tough Atlanta defense with an offensive line that is decimated with injuries.

In his press conference on Wednesday, Mike McCarthy simply said that: “We have some guys on the offensive line that are injured, banged up.”

On the Green Bay Packers initial injury report for the week, there are three offensive linemen listed, and two of them did not participate at all in practice on Wednesday.

David Bakhtiari has a hamstring injury and was limited in practice on Wednesday. Jason Spriggs has a hamstring injury as well and sat out of practice. Bryan Bulaga has an ankle injury and is also listed as ill, sitting out of practice as well.

The most recent Packers injury is that of Spriggs. He hurt his hamstring in the Seattle Seahawks win.

The injury happened when he ducked to block Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright on a point after attempt. Wright fell on Spriggs' back, and he grabbed his left hamstring before leaving the game. The Packers call the injury a “tweak.”

Bryan Bulaga missed the opening game win over the Seahawks with his ankle injury. The injury is a sprain, and his absence forced Kyle Murphy into the starting lineup.

Bulaga has not played since he hurt his ankle on Aug. 23 but he has not been ruled out for the Packers Week 2 contest with the Atlanta Falcons yet.

To make up for the injured players, the Green Bay Packers called up offensive lineman Adam Pankey from the practice squad. Pankey is an undrafted free agent from West Virginia and will provide depth. Pankey is best served as a left guard but can also play tackle if needed.

Atlanta Falcons defensive improvements

The biggest thing that the Green Bay Packers have to do to beat the Atlanta Falcons this season is to keep Aaron Rodgers on his feet. Rodgers was not the reason that the Packers lost last year in the NFC Championship game. He threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the contest.

As long as Rodgers is on his feet and throwing the ball, Green Bay can beat anyone on any given Sunday.

The Packers defense is also much improved, which is hugely important for Dom Capers, who had to show improvement this year if he wants to remain onboard the perineal contenders.

With Bryan Bulaga possibly out of action again, Rodgers will have Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley and Jahri Evans as the only healthy starting offensive linemen. Hopefully, David Bakhtiari will return, although not at 100 percent, and backup Kyle Murphy should remain in the starting lineup for now. The depth behind them is minimal, so this is something that the Green Bay Packers will have to keep a close eye on, and Packers’ faithful will just have to hope that Aaron Rodgers can make it out of this game in one piece – and with their second “W” of the season.