(287) Green Bay vs. Atlanta (288)
PICK: pinnacle @ 3 GB (-113)
DATE: September 17, 2017 - 8:30 PM
STAR RATING: 8.0
EXPERT: Power Sports
EVALUATION: Loss (-904) - Final Score GB 23 at ATL 34
8* Green Bay (8:25 ET): Both of these teams won in Week 1, but it wasn't easy. It never is when Atlanta plays outdoors, but realistically they could have lost outright to the Bears as a goal line stand was required to preserve a 23-17 victory. I was on the dog there and they covered. Green Bay also had a somewhat ugly win, but at least they had the "excuse" of facing Seattle. All things considered, beating the Seahawks 17-9 is no small achievement. To me, the better team is getting points in this matchup. Yes, I remember what happened when these teams met in LY's NFC Championship Game (I was on Atlanta) as the Falcons raced out to a 31-0 advantage. But that will only serve to motivate a Packers team that is 7-2 ATS otherwise the L2 yrs as an underdog. Home teams tend to struggle their first couple seasons in a new stadium, so I'm taking the points.
That NFC Championship Game loss is the ONLY time Aaron Rodgers and company have been beaten since Thanksgiving. The Pack are 9-1 L10 games (reg season & playoffs) and I've got them as the favorite in the NFC this season. Yes, they clearly benefited from a terrible block in the back call last week, not to mention a Russell Wilson turnover inside the 5-yard line. But I was impressed w/ how the defense played and think it will be a much different story here compared to what we saw last January in Atlanta. Not allowing a touchdown is pretty impressive (unless you're playing the Bengals!) and the Pack held Seattle to just 225 total yds last week. They finished w/ a 26-12 edge in first downs, so it really was a pretty dominant performance when you break it down. With the addition of Davon House, the GB secondary is a lot better equipped to handle Atlanta's passing attack this go around.
Playing outdoors is a conveinent excuse for the Falcons offense last week, but the bottom line is I find it impossible to believe they'll be matching LY's production. OC Kyle Shanahan has moved on and there's just some natural regression that should take hold. Consider that Atlanta had just 13 pts heading into the fourth quarter last week. They were out-first downed and 88 of their 372 total yds came on one crucial TD pass. Interestingly, the Falcons are 0-3 ATS their last three times as a home favorite of three points or less, losing two of the games outright. They're just 8-14 ATS the L22 times they've been favored overall. 8* Green Bay