Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Preview
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
When: Sunday, January 22, 2017, 3:05 PM ET
Line: Green Bay Packers (+4) at Atlanta Falcons (-4); total: 61.0 – view all NFL lines
TV Broadcast: FOX
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Betting on the Green Bay Packers (+4)
In the most thrilling game of the Divisional Round playoffs, the Green Bay Packers escaped Jerry World on Sunday with a tense 34-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers kept their sizzling form intact, now having won their last eight contests (and with a stellar 7-1 record against the span to boot) to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2014.
Aaron Rodgers was far from perfect that night – 356 passing yards, two touchdowns and a pick on 28-of-43 passing – but he didn’t need to be his invincible self to shock the Dallas crowd with the way his team pulled through in the clutch. The hero of the game was actually kicker Mason Crosby, who hit two 50-yard field goals in the final two minutes of the game, including the 51-yard, game-winning kick with 12 seconds left.
We really shouldn’t discredit Rodgers’ performance despite his relatively lackluster numbers. After all, the former Super Bowl champ had to work without top wide receiver Jordy Nelson (ribs) on Sunday and possibly for the rest of the playoffs. And if there’s a solid takeaway from Green Bay’s victory, it’s that tight end Jared Cook (six catches for 104 receiving yards and a score) proved to be a viable option for Rodgers in the absence of Nelson.
However, the Packers’ defense reverted back to its clumsy self by nearly losing a 15-point lead over Dallas in the third quarter. The Cowboys even outgained Green Bay 429-414 in total offensive yardage, and this simply cannot be the case next Sunday against Atlanta’s very potent offense. This now leads us to…
Betting on the Atlanta Falcons (-4)
With a convincing 36-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, it’s about time that NFL fans finally buy into the hype surrounding this season’s Atlanta Falcons.
For as stellar as Rodgers was against the Cowboys, Matt Ryan was even more impressive in dissecting the Seahawks’ vaunted defense. Ryan, the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award at -650, completed 26 of 37 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns to become the first QB to have thrown for 300 or more yards, three TDs and no interceptions against a Pete Carroll-led Seattle defense. By the way, Ryan connected with eight different receivers to achieve such a feat, which goes to show how deep Atlanta’s aerial attack really is right now.
Not only that, but the Falcons run game behind the duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman was spectacular enough to baffle Seattle as well. Freeman and Coleman combined for 102 rushing yards and a score on 25 carries, further strengthening their team’s distinction as the seventh-highest scoring offense in NFL history.
Take note that the Seahawks had a top-five defense in the regular season, and that the Falcons blew them away with little to no resistance. Green Bay’s defense, meanwhile, ranks in the bottom-third of the league in yards (363.9) and points (24.3) allowed per game.
Speaking of defense, Atlanta’s stop unit really turned things around on Saturday. Russell Wilson was sacked three times, hit seven other times and was picked off twice, showing that the Falcons’ opportunistic D came to play in the postseason. That Falcons, mind you, ranked tied for fourth in the regular season with a plus-11 turnover difference.
On top of all that, the team has won five of its last six games in Hot-lanta, including the 33-32 nail-biter over Green Bay back in October 30. And while the Falcons only went 3-3 against the spread in those contests, all of those outings resulted with the point total going over, so you can at least be rest assured that Sunday’s upcoming NFC title clash will be a shootout to remember.
The Falcons (-4) outgun the Packers, 36-30, to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998.
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