RB Freeman versus Green Bay's front seven
With Tevin Coleman sidelined due to a hamstring injury, Devonta Freeman will be expected to play the majority of offensive snaps. The third-year pro took on this kind of role many times in 2015, and the Falcons are confident he'll thrive as a featured back in Week 8.
"He's shown he has the ability to do that," head coach Dan Quinn said. "What a nice advantage that is now, to know that he took a good workload but not all of it through our first seven ball games. He's equipped for it, but we'll lean on the other guys too."
OLB Beasley versus RT Bulaga
Vic Beasley Jr. has dominated a number of right tackles this month, and Green Bay's Bryan Bulaga will be among the toughest he faces this year. Bulaga, a 2010 first-rounder, has allowed just 10 pressures, two sacks and one QB hit in 252 pass block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
He'll have his hands full with Beasley, who has tallied 5.5 sacks in his last three games.
"Vic is playing great. He's a high-motor guy, very athletic, a second- and third-effort player," Aaron Rodgers said. "But (he's) also strong enough at the point to bull (rush), to (move from) speed to power, to speed to spin. ... (Beasley) is a guy you have to account for on every play. He's a difference-maker."
WR Jones versus Green Bay's CBs
The Packers will enter the Georgia Dome with a depleted secondary. Their starting CBs, Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall, have both been ruled out for Sunday's matchup. What's more, fellow corner Sam Shields, who played more than 700 defensive snaps last year, was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 18. That leaves Demetri Goodson, LaDarius Gunter and other backups to handle the best wide receiver in football.
This is far from an ideal situation for Green Bay, but Julio Jones knows better than to underestimate any defense in this league.
"They have two of the best safeties that I think we are going to face this year," Jones said Thursday. "You have to expect the worst, that they are going to double you, play two men to you, have a safety over top. But I have the teammates here that are going to get open if they play that coverage towards me. The other guys on the other side are going to step up and make plays."