With only two games left before the Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons take the field to determine the representative from the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Falcons and Matt Ryan have been the poster boys for how to choke away successful regular seasons in the playoffs. This season has felt a bit different from the Falcons. In the regular season even, there was a sense that this year was going to be different. Dan Quinn did a fantastic job changing the culture around Atlanta into a confident team that believed in themselves.
Ryan had some very productive seasons before Quinn came to town, but his game has elevated to the next level in this offense. Still the same talented guy, however, there’s been an extra jump in his step that is unlike anything we’ve seen from him before. People were doubting if he was among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, but he’s been answering that question quite effectively with the Falcons in 2016.
Ryan passed for 38 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, which amounts to his best season since starting in the league in 2008. He also holds a quarterback rating of 117.1, smashing the 100 QB rating mark for the first time in his career. Matt Ryan is certainly deserving of the MVP award, I think there is no disputing that. A lot of credit goes to the offense as a whole. Julio Jones is a massive target in the passing game and has helped Ryan out loads.
The Falcons traded up drastically to have the right to select Jones, and it’s paid off well in Atlanta. A ticket to the Super Bowl is on the line for the Falcons today and the chance to go into their brand new digs next season with a Super Bowl banner to hang up. They have some work to do, and today their work consists of slowing down a red-hot quarterback who already has a Super Bowl to his name.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers enter the NFC Championship hot as can be. Following a slow start in the regular season, the Packers have exploded and Rodgers is playing the best football of his career. The plays he made last week against the Cowboys were just unfair, especially on that final drive that set up the game winning field goal. Rodgers will need to dig deep and find some of that same magic against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. It’s the Packers vs. Falcons in the NFC Championship. The winner has their ticket to the Super Bowl, while the other will be watching from home. Let’s get to this important pick for Sunday.
Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons NFC Championship Betting Odds:
vs. Falcons -6(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Falcons Pick:
I think what sticks out of the most, sports betting wise, is the total in this game. You just don’t see totals of over 60 points in the NFL. Yeah, in college football it’s an average total, but this is insane especially for a conference championship game. The Packers and Falcons can definitely put the points up in a hurry, so it’s justified, in the sense that money on the OVER is going to come in regardless. Green Bay averaged 35 points per game across their last six games. In no game did they score less than 30 points. Conversely, the Falcons haven’t scored less than 30 points since December 4th, 28 points against the Chiefs. The Falcons have averaged 36.5 points per game in their last seven games, so yeah, the total in this one is looking on point.
Both teams have needed to rely on their offenses. However, the Packer defense improved considerably as the season progressed. They got a little healthier, and bit by bit, the results started to get better. In their last eight games, they’ve allowed only 19.5 points per game, which is great from where they were earlier in the season. They only allowed more than 30 points once, which came last week against the Cowboys. While their defense has improved, it’s going to have to be Aaron Rodgers who wins this game. A timely stop is going to be important too, though.
This game will come down to the quarterbacks and which defense can get that timely stop. The Falcons have allowed 20.8 points per game in their last eight games. So, looking at the Packers and Falcons most recent matchups, this is about as close of a matchup as you’re going to get. The offenses can roll the points up, while the defenses are capable of making spot plays here and there. The public are on the Packers, although the line is moving in the opposite direction. I rarely go against this trend, but it’s hard for me to leave those 6 points out there with the Packers. Rodgers has been on fire and I think he and Ryan have a duel in the Georgia Dome, setting up some kind of final memorable game in the stadium.
PICK: PACKERS +6 (-110)