The Atlanta Falcons host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 22nd in the NFC Championship Game. This will be a rematch from an exciting earlier meeting in the regular season in which the Falcons won 33-32 at home as 3-point favorites.
Atlanta (12-5) had things break its way this season. The Falcons got a first-round bye only because the Seahawks were upset in Week 16. They then promptly beat the Seahawks 36-20 last week. The Cowboys lost to the Packers, giving the Falcons home-field advantage for the NFC Championship as well.
Green Bay (12-6) reeled off its eighth straight victory in the best game of the Divisional Round. The Packers stormed out to a 21-3 lead over the Cowboys early, but ended up blowing it and wound up tied 31-31 with 35 seconds left. That’s all Aaron Rodgers needed with two timeouts to get his team into field goal range, and Mason Crosby kicked his second 50-plus yard field goal in the final two minutes to win the game.
Kickoff inside the Georgia Dome is set for 3:05 EST Sunday afternoon with FOX providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the NFL odds, I find Atlanta as a 4.5-point favorite over Green Bay with a total set of 61 points.
I was on the Falcons last week and I’ll likely be on them again this week. They delivered with a 36-20 win over the Seahawks in a game they dominated. They racked up 422 total yards on the Seahawks while limiting them to just 309, outgaining them by 113 yards for the game.
The Falcons are legitimately probably the best team in the NFL when you look at the numbers. They lead the NFL in yards per play differential. They average 6.7 yards per play on offense and give up 5.6 per play on defense, outgaining opponents by 1.1 yards per play. They clearly have the best offense in the NFL, and it’s not really even been close.
But the promising thing about the Falcons is the fact that they’ve allowed 20 or fewer points in five of their last seven games overall. The only exceptions were the 29 points given up to the Chiefs in which 9 of those were scored by their defense and special teams. And they had held the Saints to 13 points through three quarters before giving up 19 points in garbage time in the fourth with the game already decided.
But the promising thing about the Falcons is the fact that they’ve allowed 20 or fewer points in five of their last seven games overall.
The Packers have been clicking offensively as well and will get their points, but they have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They gave up 31 points and 429 yards to the Cowboys last week. They are now allowing 28.6 points per game, 393 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play on the road this season. The Falcons will expose this D more than it has been all season.
The first meeting this season was a 33-32 shootout in favor of the Falcons. But Atlanta played better than the final score showed. It actually held the Packers to just 331 total yards in that victory, which wouldn’t usually lead to 32 points. Matt Ryan did whatever he wanted to, completing 28 of 35 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Keep in mind that Julio Jones was banged up in that game, and Tevin Coleman didn’t even play.
Plays against road teams (GREEN BAY) – off one or more straight overs against opponent off six or more consecutive overs are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS since 1983. Atlanta is 6-0 ATS after allowing 6 or more yards per play in two consecutive games over the last two seasons. The Packers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. It’s been a great run for the Packers, but I think they’re simply out of gas now.