Contender Green Bay Packers to Win Against Pretender Atlanta Falcons
Green Bay Packers -6
Atlanta Falcons +6
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Sunday’s prime-time NFL game features the reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers as they take on the Falcons in Atlanta. Let’s go through some of the recent highlights for both teams and get a sense of where they stand and who will prevail in this exciting game featuring two of the most promising offenses in the league.
The Atlanta Falcons began the season with hopes of finally evolving into a true championship contender, riding largely on the potential of quarterback Matt Ryan to lead the team. Four games into the season the Falcons have delivered mixed results, most recently featuring a heart-stopping victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Atlanta’s DE John Abraham is quoted after the game as stating, “(it) should have been, not saying a breeze, but it should have been a little more comfortable at the end.” No kidding. Looking at the statistics of the Seattle game, the Falcons did not play a particularly bad game in any of the key areas but lacked the killer instinct to put the game away. QB Matt Ryan threw for 291 yards, with no turnovers and a 100 percent success rate in the red zone (2/2). These numbers, plus a relatively weak Seattle team and a 27-7 lead at halftime should have put the Falcons firmly in control of the game. In the end, however, Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense watched helplessly on the sidelines as the Seahawks came dangerously close to winning the game with a last minute field goal.
Although the Falcons will likely be focusing on the fact that they got the win, the game versus the Seahawks provides a fair summary of how Atlanta has performed overall this year. Atlanta’s win against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 18th was a good ego boost at the time but looking at the year the Eagles are currently having can that now really be viewed as a big success? Losses to medium level opponents such as the Tampa Bay Bucs (13-16) and the Chicago Bears (12-30) are not supposed to happen for teams wanting to be counted among the best. Throw in the narrow win against the Seattle Seahawks (counted as a loss if bettors took Atlanta and with the spread) and you’ve got a team with fundamental problems achieving real success.
Although the final score will lead bettors to believe that the Green Bay Packers ran away with their game against the Denver Broncos, there was a brief rally by Kyle Orton and company late in the second quarter. As the Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy said, “trust me, we don’t have it all figured out as a football team. We’re 4-0, but we’re very in tune with what we need to improve as a team.” The Green Bay Packers recognized the adjustments they needed to make during their game against the weaker Denver Broncos team, allowing them to win handily (49-23). The Green Bay defence keyed off of quarterback Kyle Orton’s errant passes to allow Packers backers to cash their wagers even with the fairly large spread. Recognizing matchups and challenges from opponents is a characteristic that truly strong teams posses and the Packers have showed this throughout their current season.
Green Bay’s perfect season thus far has not only come against mediocre teams such as the Denver Broncos, in fact quite the opposite. Wins against the New Orleans Saints (42-34), Carolina Panthers (30-23) and Chicago Bears (27-17) should illustrate the variety of talent the Packers have overcome to keep their undefeated season going. Also worthy of note going into this game is that Falcons Center Todd McClure is listed as questionable with a knee injury, which may lead to some problems for Matt Ryan. Although the Atlanta Falcons have traditionally had more success playing at home in the SuperDome than on the road, the Green Bay Packers should be able to cover the current spread.
Play: Green Bay Packers -6
Written by Greg Smith