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Week 8 Predictions: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

Shawn (4-2, 1-2-3 ATS): There are plenty of reasons to pick against the Green Bay Packers this week. The Packers have faced two good NFC teams this season in Dallas and Minnesota, and lost to both of them. A couple weeks ago, the Atlanta Falcons looked to clearly be one of the better teams in the NFC, but that was before two losses in a row got them headed in the wrong direction.

The other main reason to pick against the Packers is injuries: the bye did very little to slow them down, and now the mini-bye has done no better. The Packers are literally playing with their fourth best corner being their No. 1, while their fifth corner plays the other side.

Normally, that would sound like disaster against the second-rated passing offense. However, if there was more than one guy there to worry about, I would worry about it. There isn’t. The entire passing attack essentially lies on Julio Jones’ shoulders. Atlanta also had a good check down weapon in Tevin Coleman, but he is out. That makes Jones the only explosive player on the offense.

By the way, the Packers are back to being No. 1 in the NFL against the run, and that will be tested again this week by Devonta Freeman. I think Freeman is underrated, but I also like the Packers’ chances to hold him down and put the offense in Matt Ryan’s hands.

The Packers have had the Falcons’ number ever since they met in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2011. Regardless of the myriad of reasons to pick against the Packers, I am sticking with them, and it is for the same reason that the Packers typically win against the Falcons.

The Falcons are ranked 31st against the pass. They are ninth against the run, but the Packers don’t care. Don’t be surprised to see Aaron Rodgers throw it about as many times as he did against the Bears. Rodgers has had his share of success in the Georgia Dome, and I think that can happen again.

The short passing game will control the clock and keep the Falcons’ offense off the field, helping the Packers’ defense. I also think it will put up enough points for the Packers to do something they rarely do — win as an underdog.

Packers 27, Falcons 24

Monty (4-2, 1-3-2 ATS): The one thing I can correctly say about the Green Bay Packers is they’re unpredictable. That makes picking these games an exercise in futility, as you can see by my record against the spread.

The Atlanta Falcons are a three-point favorite at home, which sounds about right. Per usual, when the Falcons appear to have a good team, I am totally unconvinced of that being the case.

This team wins with offense, which is pretty much contrary to how every other good team wins football games these days. They throw the ball and they throw it some more, which has been the Packers’ defense biggest issue this season. Should we expect anything different this week?

I won’t predict that the Packers’ secondary is going to shut down the Atlanta passing attack. However, I do think the matchup of LaDarius Gunter and Julio Jones is the best matchup for the Packers. Gunter is more physical than any of the Packers’ other corners, even though he is technically the No. 4 guy on the depth chart. I doubt he’ll shut Jones down, but I also don’t expect him to dominate this game.

And that ultimately will leave it to Aaron Rodgers and the offense to get things done. They’re going to need to control the clock. I expect them to do so with a mix of the short passing attack we saw last week and some semblance of a running game. You’ve got Don Jackson and Knile Davis. You might as well use them.

I believe the Packers can do this. It isn’t necessarily that they’re the kind of great team to go on the road and deliver a huge win. It’s more that I don’t believe the Falcons are really as good as their early-season success suggests.

Packers 24, Falcons 20

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Shawn

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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12 Comments

  1. Big B October 30, 2016

    Cobb’s out and we have no bona fide RBs. TEs- don’t get me started. Packers offense has no obvious reliable weapons, existing in a demilitarized zone if you will. If McCarthy truly is an offensive visionary and genius then today will be a good chance to prove that. No thanks, I’ll pass on the Kool-Aid; pass me a beer(s) instead. Run defense stats are skewed due to weak initial opponents, the performance against the Cowboys is probably more representative. Freeman is not at Zeke’s level but he’s good enough to give the Packers trouble. Shawn and Monty, I want to believe, but I am a man of little faith. Forgive me.

    1. PF4L October 30, 2016

      The Packers have a chance against a team giving up 28 ppg. YAY!!

      What i’m looking for is….Do the Packers open up the passing attack against the 31st rated pass defense, or do they dink and dunk for 0-8 yard passes with no yards after the catch? Does Nelson show he still has ability, or is he just window dressing?

  2. Howard October 30, 2016

    To make it simple agree with Shawn with a couple of additions.
    Turnovers will determine the winner. Bulaga needs an outstanding game against Beasley to slow Beasley down. New running backs need to hold onto the ball. Clark and Daniels need to get a push into Ryan’s face. Show clear double coverage on Jones. Try to get Ryan to look away as much as possible. Just like Dallas Atlanta’s punter will over kick his coverage. Look for a long punt return from the Pack if there are any punts.

    Ball control pass game by the Packers will wear down the Falcons defense. Packers #1 in 3rd down conversion and close to #1 in allowing 3rd down conversion for opponents. Keep it close to start and Finish Strong! GO PACK!!!

  3. ARS85 October 30, 2016

    Cobb being out hurt, but now Montgomery is out. That is a killer. The packers most likely built the game plan around having him in the backfield. Huge blow. Davis or Jackson need to make some sort of dent early to keep Atlanta honest and Rodgers will need to play out of this world or this one is going to be ugly for us…… Let’s hope Rodgers has something to prove today and can overcome the poor receiver play and buffoon’s awful play calling

    1. Howard October 30, 2016

      Ouch, that hurts did not know Montgomery was out. That is a big hit for ball control pass offense.

  4. Zwoeger October 30, 2016

    well with all the injuries the Fatman finaly might behave different then a dove in a skinner box and come up with some alternative strategies and plays.

  5. Kato October 30, 2016

    Falcons 38 packers 20

    That shows how much faith I have in this team

  6. Killer October 30, 2016

    The White House psychic says Packer fungus over Falcons 24-19. At halftime.

    1. PF4L October 30, 2016

      Shawn, or anyone at this website. Check killers and unsupervised childs IP addy. $100 says it’s the same. And if so, ban it so he has to take the bus to a different library to post.

      1. Killer October 31, 2016

        Oh Piffle, you and your silly conspiracy theories. The 4 myths you hold most dear are 1) that we never landed on the moon, 2) the Packer fungus will go to the Super Bowl, 3) that when we landed on the moon we met aliens (yes, 1 and 3 are in direct conflict but that is no issue for a fungus), and, 4) that I have posted on this site under more than one name. Of course, all 4 are equally nonsensical (actually 3 is less than the others… but I have access to information you do not). Why post as anything other than KILLER? What would it accomplish?

  7. Unsupervised Child October 30, 2016

    I wonder with Clay “pulled hamstring ” has anything to do with his wife about to deliver child #2?? His way of getting out of playing so he can be by her side. You know how teams treat their star players differently.

    BTW.. Falcons won. 33-32.

    1. PF4L October 30, 2016

      I wonder if Rodgers still being with Olivia had something to do with losing this game. Please feel free to follow up, posting more idiotic comments like killer (unsupervised child).

      BTW…Can you post anything more moronic and nonsensical.