The Green Bay Packers head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday Night Football for an NFC title game rematch with the Atlanta Falcons in week two. Both teams are off to solid 1-0 starts after posting wins in week one, but only one can stay perfect.
All eyes will be on an elite quarterback duel with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan going to work, while several questions will be answered by the end of this game. One is whether or not Green Bay’s defense is as good as it looked in week one.
We will surely find that out, as the Falcons produced one of the best offenses ever in 2016 and beat the Packers twice with it – including an easy romp en route to the Super Bowl.
Some have wondered if a Super Bowl 51 defeat would lead to a Super Bowl hangover, but the Falcons avoided disaster in a tight week one over the Bears and enter as -145 betting favorites for this weekend’s showdown, per Bovada.
Can we trust the Falcons against the Packers, or is there another NFL betting angle to take? Let’s dig deeper as we break down this tense matchup to find out:
Green Bay Packers (+125)
Atlanta Falcons (-145)
The Falcons offer some of the best value on the board in week two, as they are obvious favorites at home against the Packers. Green Bay did make it to the NFC title game a year ago, however, and after their defense looked improved in week two, it’s clear that the top NFL sportsbooks gave them a solid boost.
Unfortunately, we’re not getting enough value by taking Green Bay. They would normally be fun underdogs, but going into ATL and snagging a win won’t be easy and it still remains to be determined if Green Bay’s defensive improvements can slow down – let alone stop – Atlanta’s loaded offense.
There are two bets to try here – the Falcons straight up at -145 or roll with the Total. Much of our analysis will be geared towards the Falcons, but the Total deserves some attention. It’s a big one, but it’s worth noting that this game is going to be played in a dome, where speed from both sides should be on full display. These two sides also easily topped this exact Total both times they met in 2016.
The value is the same (-110) either way you go with the Total, but due to the bright lights, the talent and the history between these teams, I like the Over.
The big question is whether or not the Over is our preferred bet, or if we can roll with the Falcons and feel better about it. It’s a tough call, but the logic points to an Atlanta win.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be close. Green Bay has been a very strong ATS player (5-1 ATS in their last 6 games) and will probably play this one a lot closer than the last time these two teams met. A few reasons why: their defense does look better, Ty Montgomery gives the ground game stability and Jordy Nelson will be more than a decoy the second time around.
Health and balance is key for the Packers – neither of which they could really hang their hat on the last time they faced the Falcons. Green Bay is usually a safer bet on their home field, though, while the offensive line’s play in week one wasn’t promising.
Atlanta doesn’t have a traditionally elite defense, but they do have an active one. Aaron Rodgers should expect to face a good amount of pressure in this one and if it gets into a shootout – as is fully expected – odds are his line will betray him.
Montgomery could always help control the clock and tire out the Falcons, too, but the Falcons ultimately have the home crowd and simply have more weapons. The turnover battle will be king here, as one mistake could prove costly with both offenses offering so much upside.
Green Bay has enough pieces to make a deep playoff run again this year, but this game figures to serve more as an early measuring stick than a statement win. I expect a close, high-scoring game, but much like we saw last year, the Falcons will execute late to pull out the home win.
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