GREEN BAY PACKERS (1-0)
at ATLANTA FALCONS (1-0)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, GA
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: Cincinnati -3.0, Total: 53.5
The Packers will be hoping to revenge last year’s NFC Championship loss to the Falcons when the teams meet in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
Sunday’s meeting between Green Bay and Atlanta will be the first ever regular season game played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The timing for opening up a new venue like this one is perfect, as the Falcons proved themselves to be an elite team with a trip to last year’s Super Bowl. To get to that game, the Falcons had to go through the Packers in the NFC Championship. Atlanta just so happened to dominate that game, as the team won 44-21 as a six-point favorite there. It was the Falcons’ second victory over the Packers last season, so they should be pretty confident when they get out there on Sunday. Green Bay did, however, just win a huge Week 1 game against Seattle. The Packers won that won 17-9 as 2.5-point favorites, and that was all while the Falcons struggled in a 23-17 victory as 6.5-point favorites against the lowly Bears. One trend that stands out when looking at this one is the fact that Atlanta is 16-6 ATS in home games in the first two weeks of the season since 1992. The homefield advantage should only be amplified because of the fact that these Falcons fans will be hyped up in their team’s new stadium.
The Packers are coming off of a hard-earned victory over the Seahawks, and QB Aaron Rodgers will certainly be looking forward to facing the Falcons after that meeting with Seattle. The Seahawks have one of the league’s best defenses, but Rodgers now faces a Falcons secondary that made Mike Glennon look like a stud last week. When Rodgers faced Atlanta in the NFC Championship, the superstar was 27-for-45 for 287 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick. It would not be surprising at all if Rodgers throws for over 300 yards with three or four touchdowns in this one. He’ll just need to do his best to get the ball to WR Jordy Nelson as much as possible. And once the Falcons start throwing defenders his way then Rodgers can pick apart the rest of Atlanta’s corners by utilizing both WRs Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. This Packers defense will, however, need to be ready to go here. The Falcons offense absolutely lit them up in every aspect of the game in the playoffs last year. This unit must keep it together and give Rodgers a chance to win it for them.
The Falcons won their opening week meeting with the Bears, but there is definitely some room for improvement against the Packers here. One thing Chicago needs to do in this game is finish off drives. QB Matt Ryan had a field day against the Bears, going 21-for-30 for 321 yards with one touchdown and no picks. He would, however, likely tell you himself that he should have thrown for at least two scores in that one. And RB Devonta Freeman definitely left some yards on the field, as his 12 carries for 37 yards left a lot to be desired. Fortunately for Freeman, he did find the end zone in that game. And he’ll almost certainly be a factor against Green Bay here. So will WR Julio Jones, who will be looking for more opportunities after catching just four balls for 66 yards last game. Jones caught nine passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers in the NFC Championship last year, so this secondary is one he’ll be happy to see on Sunday. Defensively, the Falcons need to make sure they get some pressure on Aaron Rodgers here. They were able to do it a bit last year, but will need to make sure they ramp it up even more this weekend.