The last time these two teams met, the Falcons were a 1-1/2 point favourite when they hosted the Packers in last season’s playoffs. The Falcons are hoping they don’t repeat their performance from that game, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers 48-21. Atlanta is looking to get their season on track, and a victory over the unbeaten Packers could go a long way in doing that. The Falcons did manage a victory against the Packers in their first meeting last year, as they beat Green Bay 20-17 at the Georgia Dome in what was their fifth win in an eventual 8 game winning streak. The Packers come into this game 3-1 against the spread this year, while Atlanta is 1-3 ATS in their first 4.
Packers @ Falcons, Spread, Line, Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -5.5
@ Atlanta Falcons +5.5
Over 53.5 (-110)
Under 53.5 (-110)
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Packers vs. Falcons Pick:
What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, the Falcons were 3-1and would go on to win 10 of their next 12 games. This year, the team has a 2-2 record and has not looked at all like the same team from just one year ago. The Falcons were hoping to add a legitimate deep threat to their offense when they traded away 5 draft picks to the Cleveland Browns to allow them to move up 21 spots to draft WR Julio Jones. Unfortunately, they didn’t address their defensive needs and it is beginning to show. Atlanta has given up 26.3 points per game (27th ranked) and has allowed 372.8 yards per game (21st) so far, and they have allowed opponent’s quarterbacks to complete 68.35% of their passes (29th). All this coming into a game against arguably the league’s best quarterback this year in Aaron Rodgers, who looks like he hasn’t missed a beat coming off last year’s Super Bowl MVP performance. While the Falcon’s may not be able to keep their opponents off the scoreboard, they have not done a great job of putting up their own offensive numbers. The usually strong Atlanta running game is averaging less than 100 yards per game (99.8, 19th), which has put more pressure on Matt Ryan and the passing game. The Falcons now pass 65.31% of the time they have the ball, second highest in the league, while they are rushing only 34.69% of the time, 31st in the league. This won’t be the week to change that unbalance, with the Packers boasting the second best rush defense in the NFL allowing just 71 YPG. While they have been strong against the run, they have been vulnerable against the pass, ranking 31st in allowing 335.8 YPG.
The Packers meanwhile are looking like they might be the best bet since the Patriots to have a chance to repeat as SB champions. They lead the league in scoring, averaging 37 points per game, and are 5th in total YPG with 429.2. Aaron Rodgers leads the league in completions, connecting on 72.54% of his attempts, and is the top ranked quarterback in the league at 124.6. While the Packers are getting it done through the air, Atlanta has had a tough time stopping the passing game. The Falcons rank 24th in yards allowed per game at 275.5, and rank 29th in completions allowed, letting opponents complete 68.35% of attempts thrown, meaning Rodgers could light it up in this one. The Falcons are 5-1 in their last 6 against the Packers, and are 22-11over the past two years against the number.
While the Falcons have a 2-2 record, one of those victories came against Tavares Jackson and the Seahawks, the other came against an Eagles team that outplayed them for most of the game and actually should have won the game. The Packers meanwhile appear to be firing on all cylinders, with the major concern for them being to not take any opponents too lightly. I don’t think they will in this game, and I think Green Bay easily handles Atlanta and the 5-1/2 point spread. Take the Packers, – 5-1/2.
PICK = PACKERS -5.5