FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Just two seasons ago, the Atlanta Falcons (4-8) and the Green Bay Packers (4-7-1) met in the NFC Championship game, the final game in the Georgia Dome.
Since the Falcons' 44-21 win on Jan. 22, 2017, things have spiraled downward for both franchises, culminating with Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy being fired on Sunday. The Falcons are 15-15 since losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, while the Packers have gone 11-16-1 since the NFC title game.
The two former NFC powers are set to meet Sunday at historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn is on much safer ground than McCarthy, who guided the Packers to Super Bowl XLV title and nine playoff appearances.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank expressed faith in Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after the 26-16 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Blank was at the team facility on Monday and walked through a mostly empty locker room twice.
Quinn appreciates Blank's support.
"During this time of year, I know they are 32 teams and 32 buildings," Quinn said on Monday. "I'm aware that not everyone has that type of support. I appreciate having a boss like that. I know what he stands for and I love having that connection. It's very important."
Quinn will not absolve himself from the team's backsliding.
"That starts with me first," Quinn said. "How can we do X,Y,Z better? That always starts with me, but that's part of our process all the time to challenge ourselves to see if we can do to it better."
The Falcons were projected to contend for Super Bowl LIII, which will be held in Atlanta on Feb. 3. But a rash of injuries to key starters undoubtedly hurt the team.
However, the Falcons thought they had enough offensive firepower to overcome some of their deficiencies. After climbing to 4-4 on the season, the offense has been derailed over a four-game losing streak.
Against the Ravens, the Falcons couldn't move the ball. They were held to 131 total yards, their lowest total since a Dec. 12, 1999 game against San Francisco.
Other subpar offensive performances:
— In a 31-17 loss to the Saints on Nov. 22, the Falcons committed three turnovers inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
— In a 22-19 loss to Dallas on Nov. 18, the offense was bogged down and held to four field goals.
— In a 28-16 loss to Cleveland on Nov. 11, the offense was stopped on the goal line and couldn't rally from a 28-10 third quarter deficit.
The Falcons can't put a finger on what's wrong with the offense.
"There's no doubt in my mind that we are going to continue to work hard and get better," left tackle Jake Matthews said. "I can guarantee that."
Quinn said: "Over the last four games, the third quarter (of the season) has been difficult for us. That's for sure."
Quinn pointed to the third-down conversion percentage, the turnovers and the lack of a rushing attack as factors that have grounded the offense to a halt.
"Those three things are at the top of my list," Quinn said. "Turnover margin, third down percentage and then the last piece is getting our run game going."
Running backs Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith have been ineffective as there hasn't been much room to run. The Saints held the Falcons to 26 yards rushing and the Ravens held them to 34 yards rushing.
Also, the hits are starting on quarterback Matt Ryan. He was sacked three times and hit seven times against the Ravens.
Overall, Ryan has been sacked 36 times, which is the seventh most in the NFL. Dallas' Dak Prescott has been sacked 45 times, tops in the league.
"I'm concerned about it," Quinn said. "If we are not protecting him in the way that we can. Then, that gets hard. Some games, the scores are out of whack and it turns into a drop back game. There are going to be more chances . at the end of it, I'm concerned."