As of right now, the forecast for Green Bay, Wisconsin for tonight is ice pellets. For those of you that are weather-challenged, ice pellets are larger versions of freezing rain. Let’s put it this way; ice pellets generally mean that the conditions are conducive for just about any type of winter weather there possibly could be.
Tonight in Lambeau Field, the elements will provide us with whatever they choose, I’m here to provide you with the knowledge you need to do well should you throw some money down.
Atlanta (O/U 56) at Green Bay (-13) – Before we get too far into this match-up, let’s discuss what’s at stake for each team based upon games played yesterday. For Green Bay, they need a win to keep their one game lead over the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. The Lions defeated Tampa Bay yesterday to move to 9-4 on the season and a loss by the Packers tonight would drop them into a tie although the Lions won the first game between the two teams.
For Atlanta, the Falcons got a nice surprise with New Orleans getting smoked at home (the fourth straight time) by Carolina. That drops the Saints to 5-8 on the season. A win by the Falcons would get them to 6-7 and a full game up on the Saints. They can’t sleep on the Panthers though who moved to 4-8-1 with their win in New Orleans.
Now that we know what the stakes are, let’s get down to business.
Neither team is overwhelming on defense with the Packers ranking 24th in the league and the Falcons ranking 31st. Green Bay is respectable against the pass ranking 11th while Atlanta really struggles and ranks 31st. Green Bay’s Achilles’ Heel is against the run where they rank 28th. Atlanta does a decent job comparatively speaking by ranking 19th.
Offensively, the stats for Green Bay shouldn’t be surprising. They rank eighth overall, 19th in rushing and ninth in passing. For the Falcons, they rank ninth in total offense, 25th against the run and sixth in passing.
Common sense tells us that both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan will thrive on the passing game but the difference is likely to be the rushing attacks. The Packers’ Eddie Lacy has picked up his play considerably in recent weeks and his ability to run the football only makes Rodgers more dangerous.
Ryan has largely had to depend on himself to move the ball and score points this year. With Roddy White dealing with an ankle issue, he isn’t going to be 100% so the pressure falls on Julio Jones to make big plays. Atlanta still has to try and look like they are going to try and run the football. If they don’t then the Packers and Dom Capers can dial up the pressure without fear of the run.
Key Injuries: ATL WR Roddy White Probable/Ankle, GB CB Sam Shields Questionable/Concussion
Trends: The Falcons are 7-15 straight up in their last 22 games… Green Bay is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games at home against Atlanta… The total has gone OVER in four of Atlanta’s last six games when playing at Green Bay… The Packers are 5-0 straight up in their last five games at home.
The Pick: Rodgers has been just tremendous at home so it’s hard to go against him. As much as I hate giving up all those points, Green Bay has been just too good at Lambeau. Take them to cover and the OVER.