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NFL Betting: Falcons vs. Packers Monday Night Football Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 12/8/2014 2:59:29 PM

The Atlanta Falcons might be a contender for a division title, but this is true only because other teams in the NFC South are also bad. How can Atlanta change people’s minds on Monday?

Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – Monday, December 8

These teams are both division contenders, and they both have very capable quarterbacks (though different in terms of their ceilings), and the similarities pretty much end there. The Atlanta Falcons are in the hunt for first place in the NFC South, but that’s only because no other team has a record of better than 5-7 through the first 12 games of the season. The Falcons have been stumbling along, just like every other team in the division. Through their first 11 games, they endured a negative point differential (minus-19 points), and they continue to be plagued by poor coaching from Mike Smith. A failure to let the clock run down at the end of regulation on Nov. 23 gave the Cleveland Browns time to march down the field and kick a game-winning field goal in the final seconds. Atlanta should have kicked a field goal in the final seconds, but a bizarrely curious timeout by Smith kept that time on the clock, and Cleveland used that break to its advantage.

One statistic proves how weak Atlanta really is. The Falcons achieved their 4-7 record through their first 11 games by winning all four games against other NFC South opponents. The Falcons have shown that they cannot win games against teams outside their division, a fact which confirms how weak the NFC South really is. The Falcons were supposed to be better this season after a lot of injuries and a lack of depth destroyed their 2013 plans, but nothing has really improved in 2014.

For the Green Bay Packers, the outlook is very different from a season ago, and that’s a good thing. The Packers were beset by injuries in 2013, chiefly to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who missed several games and was not able to fully recover before the season ended. He did get back into the lineup, but he was never the same player. The Packers finished 8-7-1 and were not able to get into the second round of the playoffs. This year, Rodgers has been healthy, and that has made all the difference, as many people in and around the NFL always thought it would. Green Bay rocketed to an 8-3 record through its first 11 games, creating a plus-108 point differential, the second best mark in the league behind the New England Patriots (+ 130). The Packers have been a scoring machine, averaging over 30 points per game through their first 11 games.

Atlanta has allowed an average of just over 25 points per game, which is not that bad, but again, the Falcons have played and won four games in their division. Had they played in another division, their averages would be worse, on defense and everywhere else. Green Bay is playing at home in December, while Atlanta – a dome team – has to go on the road in the coldest month of the season. Nothing about this game adds up well for the Falcons, who should get blown out.

Pick: Packers

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