While the AFC may be a foregone conclusion (Roid Rage does his best, but if even he is picking the Patriots, then it’s a sure thing), the NFC is wide open. Both teams are playing top level football. The Falcons dismantled the Seahawks last week, and Green Bay won an instant classic against the Cowboys (thank you). Is there any doubt that kicker is the most intense, pressure-packed job in all of sports?
Wait, can we talk about that Dallas/Green Bay again for a second? That’s everything you want in a game. Home team down 15 in the fourth quarter, they claw back, tie it up, and then Green Bay hits a pair of 50+ yarders. And that throw and catch. Hot damn.
The best part? All of these videos (and believe me, there are tons of them)
Seriously, I could (and did) spend a whole day watching the misery of others passionate football fans commiserate a loss. What does that say about me? And then seeing this tweet from Skip Bayless, sad, sad, Cowboys homer.
Congratulations to Dak Prescott for again outplaying Aaron Rodgers, again holding off Romo and again performing like a clutch MVP.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 16, 2017
Is there anything more annoying than a pompous sports writer who won’t accept defeat? Joe Buck? Just kidding Joe, we love you.
Anyway, let’s get right to the matchup, which should be a good one.
Green Bay at Atlanta (+6), Sunday 3:05 pm
Three words: Bet. The. Over. What’s that, you say? The O/U is 61? I don’t care. Bet. The. Over. Need proof. In each of their last 5 games, Atlanta and Green Bay have scored at least 30 points (Atlanta topped 40 twice). Not surprisingly, the teams are a combined 10-0 over those games.
And the scoring will not let up come game time. Forget what you’ve heard that defense wins championships. Both teams are ranked in the 20’s in overall defense. Sure, that’s a risky strategy that’s ultimately unsuccessful, regardless of the sport (see 2016 Golden State Warriors), but hey, it’s worked so far for both teams. Why stop now? Ride that pony.
On paper, the edge goes to Atlanta. They have the most offensive balance (read: they actually have a running game). Don’t call Devonta Freeman a change of pace back. He’s a legit #1 back, and he and Tevin Coleman form the best 1-2 punch in the league. That keeps the defenses up front, which opens up the passing game for Matty Ice (it’s cool to call him that again). And that passing game is more than just Julio Jones, although you don’t really need much more. Mohammed Sanu is a solid #2, and we love what Taylor Gabriel brings. He’s the real X-factor in their offense, and he tied with Julio for most receiving touchdowns.
For Green Bay, it’s all about Aaron Rodgers. Everyone wants to talk about his home life, and his estrangement from his parents (note: I’d choose Olivia Munn over my family too), but Aaron Rodgers is the hottest quarterback in the game.
The Packers are riding an 8-game winning streak, during which Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdowns passes and only 1 interception. Daddy may not love him anymore, but who needs your parent’s approval with numbers like that. Papa don’t preach!
Oh yeah, these two played each other, Week 8, in Atlanta. The Falcons won 33-32, on a late touchdown pass to Sanu. Green Bay was up for most of the game, but Atlanta scored with 31 seconds left to squeak out a one point victory. In that game, the Packers shut down Julio, who only had 3 catches for 29 yards. The Pack will have to contain Julio again. He’s got to be doubled plus you got to keep Clay and linebackers up front to respect the run. That will leave lots of open space in the middle and one-on-one coverage for Sanu and Gabriel (nerd alert: I love the chess match aspect of the NFL).
So who will win? This one is tough to call, but there’s a reason we’re paid the big bucks. To make these sorts of decisions. Because we’re super reliable. Like, it’s 3 in the morning. Do you know where our kids are? Probably at the neighbor’s house. Anyway, we just can’t trust the Falcons. Kyle Shanahan already has one foot in San Fran (good luck with that clusterfuck of an organization) and [NFL conspiracy theory alert] what better way to get ratings up than to have the Packers back in the Super Bowl, the beloved franchise from the heartland. The Machine’s money is on Green Bay to win straight up. But if you want a real bet, keep reading.
Bet of the Week [only true gamblers need read on]: Tease the Packers and the over. Then you get Green Bay +13 and O/U 54. For the truly degenerate devoted, tease the Packers and the under too (+13 and O/U of 68). Print that money, homie. Not to toot our own horn (read: totally tooting that shit) but if you’ve been betting on our playoff picks, you’ve been cleaning up (you’re welcome). We were 2-0 last week ATS (and straight up). Time to start making that money! That deck ain’t gonna pay for itself.
Final Score: Green Bay 34, Atlanta 30