Green Bay Packers (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
TV: FOX, DTV: 709
by Chad Holloway, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +3/ATL -3
Over/Under Total: 53
Itís been a couple of years since these two teams faced off. The Packers have won the last four matchups dating back to 2011 and are ahead in the all-tie series 17-13. Itís always entertaining when they get together, and this weekend will be no exception as both teams are battling for a spot in the postseason.
Entering Week 8, no team in the league has a better offense than the Falcons, who are averaging 433.6 total yards per game (YPG) and 32.7 points per game (PPG). Their passing game is second in the league averaging 319 YPG, while their rushing game is 14th averaging 114.6 YPG. Defensively, the Falcons, who shouldnít have but did lose a tight one to the San Diego Chargers last week, hold opponents to an average of 386.1 total YPG (294.3 passing YPG & 91.9 rushing YPG) and 28.4 PPG, which puts them 26th in the league.
Obviously the offense is where itís at for the Falcons, and thatís due in large part to Matt Ryan, who is currently the best passer in the league going 165 of 244 for 2,348 yards 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, good for a rating of 113.6. His top receiver is Julio Jones, also top in the league hauling in 40 receptions for 830 yards (20.8 Avg) and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, free agent pickup Mohamed Sanu is quietly having a solid year with 23 receptions for 258 yards (11.2 Avg) and two touchdowns.
On the ground, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have proved a formidable tandem. The former has 105 rushes for 508 yards (4.8 Avg) and two touchdowns, and the latter 59 carries for 234 yards and five touchdowns. Coleman has also caught 19 passes for 330 yards and a score.
As for the Packers, their offense isnít up to par, at least compared to recent years. They are ranked 21st in the league averaging 344.2 total YPG and 23.3 PPG. Their passing game, which averages 239.3 YPG, is ranked 20th, while their running game is 19th averaging 104.8 YPG. Defensively, the Packers hold opponents to an average of 314 total YPG (242.2 passing YPG & 71.8 rushing YPG) and 20.5 PPG, good for seventh in the NFL.
The struggles seem to stem from QB Aaron Rodgers, who is ranked 22nd in the league going 148 of 237 for 1,496, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions, good for a rating of 91.7. Not bad on the face of things, but those numbers have been lopsided. Some games heís hot Ė such as their 26-10 win over the Chicago Bears last week Ė but other times not.
Another issue the Packers have is at running back. Eddie Lacy is out with injury, and last week wide receiver Ė yes, a wide receiver Ė Ty Montgomery took over rushing duties. He managed 60 yards on nine carries, which wasnít that bad. In fact, he even busted a 30-yard-run to the outside, which was his comfort zone. Unfortunately, he wasnít nearly as effective running between the tackles and probably never will be.
Chad Holloway's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Packers donít have much of a running game, a fact that will allow the Falconsí lackluster defense to concentrate a little more on defending against the pass. Meanwhile, the Packers solid defense will need to deal with both aerial and ground attacks. Itís going to be a close one, which is reflected in the line, but Iím going to go with the Falcons. Theyíre the more well-rounded team and are playing at home. That said, think this will be a high-scoring affair so Iíd bet the over.
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