Game Predictions & Player Projections - GB vs. ATL

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: GB 27, ATL 34 (Line: ATL by 4.5, O/U = 61)

UPDATE #2: HC Mike McCarthy said that Nelson, Adams and Allison would all be game time decisions. The best guess is that Nelson will not play - or at least have any real effectiveness if he does - and that Adams and Allison will play but could be limited. It is not a great situation for the Packers and even if Rodgers is playing out of his mind right now he still has to have someone to throw to. Jeff Janis is not going to lead them to the promise land. Starks remains out.

Julio Jones had a full practice on Friday and is good to go as expected. Taylor Gabriel has been limited because of his foot but is expected to be active and not limited.

UPDATE: Jordy Nelson still looks to be a longshot to play and has not done more than very light catching. Davante Adams ankle injury is severe and may keep him out of all practices. There is no certainty that he will be cleared this week and I have lowered his projections. After Friday more will be known. Geronimo Allison is also out with a hamstring injury which was said to be precautionary. The Packers receiver situation only gets worse but it is too early to rule anyone out other than likely Nelson.

Julio Jones is being held out of practices to rest him but he is still expected to play with no limitation.

This is the game that should hold plenty of fantasy points with an over/under of 61 points that says defense doesn't necessarily win Conference Championships. The Packers are only 5-4 on the road this year but come off an incredible last second win over the Cowboys and have won their last eight games. The Falcons have won their last five and are 5-3 at home. This is the second meeting for these teams. In Week 8, the Falcons won 33-32 over the visiting Packers who led throughout the game until late when the Falcons took the lead 26-24 at the end of the third quarter. The Packers scored a touchdown with only four minutes left and ran in a two-point conversion to make it 32-24. The Falcons drove the field on the next series and Matt Ryan threw the winning score with only 36 seconds left to play which was not enough time for Aaron Rodgers unlike last week.

This should be a shootout and inside a dome means no weather considerations.

Green Bay Packers

1 @JAC 27-23 10 @TEN 25-47
2 @MIN 14-17 11 @WAS 24-42
3 DET 34-27 12 @PHI 27-13
4 BYE --- 13 HOU 21-13
5 NYG 23-16 14 SEA 38-10
6 DAL 16-30 15 @CHI 30-27
7 CHI 26-10 16 MIN 38-25
8 @ATL 32-33 17 @DET 31-24
9 IND 26-31      
News | Statistics | Roster
GB vs NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 30 320,3
RB Aaron Ripkowski 20 2-10
RB Ty Montgomery 40 6-40.1
WR Davante Adams 5-60
WR Geronimo Allison 4-50
WR Randall Cobb 7-90,1
TE Jared Cook 5-50,1
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers continue their run of the table with the last second win in Dallas when Aaron Rodgers simply defied all logic and opted to not take a knee with 35 seconds left to play from his own 25-yard line. The Packers are on the road again but are bringing all the good mojo and momentum along with a quarterback who is simply playing football at the highest level possible. Losing their best receiver wasn't enough to slow them down. As with the Steelers- Patriots tilt, the home team is favored and recent years has always won. But the pack bring with them a lengthy winning streak and a scary good offense as long as Rodgers is under center.

QUARTERBACK : By this point, there isn't any good reason to not expect 300+ yards and multiple scores from Aaron Rodgers who topped that yardage mark in each of the last four contests and totaled 14 touchdowns over those weeks. Rodgers passed for 246 yards and four scores in Atlanta with no turnovers and only three sacks. The interception he threw in Dallas last week was his first in nine games. Rogers added six runs for 60 yards in Atlanta for a season high.

RUNNING BACK : The Packers backfield only combined for 48 rushing yards in Week 8 and just three catches for three net yards. Ty Montgomery did not play that week and comes off a two-touchdown effort in Dallas when he ran for 47 yards on 11 carries. Aaron Ripkowski was the top back in the prior meeting when he rushed for 34 yards on six runs. Both Montgomery and Ripkowski handle all the rushing work but don't combine for more than 15 runs in any game. The Packers move the ball via the pass and rely on the run only sporadically.

WIDE RECEIVER : Randall Cobb did not play in Week 8 but has come to life in the playoffs with 12 catches for 188 yards over the two games and three touchdowns in the win over the Giants. Jordy Nelson accounted for 94 yards and a score in the first meeting but is still unlikely to play with broken ribs. I will hold him out of the projections and add him later only if he appears very likely to be active and productive which is unlikely so far. Jeff Janis (4-30, TD) and Geronimo Allison (2-21, TD) both scored against the Falcons and it was the debut of Allison who was covering from Cobb. Davante Adams caught 12 passes for 74 yards in that Week 8 loss and has become the new #1 wideout with Nelson out.

TIGHT END : Jared Cook only scored twice this year but both were on the road and last week he not only had the touchdown but added six catches for 103 yards as the most productive receiver for the Packers. Richard Rodgers also caught a score on his only reception in that game. Back in Week 8, COok was still out and Richard Rodgers never had a target thrown to him.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons had allowed a passing score to every visitor in Atlanta and rank the worst against quarterbacks while facing the best of the breed. Rodgers passed for four scores but only 246 yards in the first meeting but that yardage is certain to rise while the touchdowns are certainly not impossible. Rodgers has to be a lock for two touchdowns, a safe bet for three and the way he is playing almost anything is possible against a secondary that is the weakness of the team.

The Falcons are soft against the run as well and Montgomery wasn't playing in the first meeting that came after the Packers had lost Eddie Lacy. There is no reason to expect big rushing yardage but either back could run in a score.

The Falcons have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends over their eight home games and Jared Cook comes off a big game in Dallas when Nelson was out and Rodgers was looking for open receivers. He may not have a big game but should end up with a better than usual game and was not there in Week 8 when Rodgers ignored his tight ends.

All the wideouts had at least a decent showing in the first meeting and will need to come up bigger this time with Nelson on the sideline. Adams is a lock for a bigger workload but either Cobb, Janis or Allison could end up with a nice effort here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 1 26 1 26 14 16
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 32 29 26 26 8 6

Atlanta Falcons

1 TB 24-31 10 @PHI 15-24
2 @OAK 35-28 11 BYE ---
3 @NO 45-32 12 ARI 38-19
4 CAR 48-33 13 KC 28-29
5 @DEN 23-16 14 @LA 42-14
6 @SEA 24-26 15 SF 41-13
7 SD 30-33 16 @CAR 33-16
8 GB 33-32 17 NO 38-32
9 @TB 43-28      
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 320,3
RB Devonta Freeman 50 4-40
RB Tevin Coleman 50,1 3-20
WR Julio Jones 9-140,1
WR Mohamed Sanu 4-50,1
WR Taylor Gabriel 20 4-50,1
TE Austin Hooper 1-20
PK Matt Bryant 3 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons took the lead against the Seahawks last week in the second quarter and never looked back. This will be a much different game since the Seahawks brought in a very good defense and a mostly average offense. Not unlike the Packers, the Falcons bring a top passing unit to face one of the worst secondaries in the league. Matt Ryan has enjoyed a career year and is also peaking at the right time. One difference between these teams is that the Falcons have one of the best backfields in the NFL. This is shaping up to be a shootout and Ryan has plenty of weapons.

QUARTERBACK : Matt Ryan threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in Week 8 and he's scored in every game this year. His 38 passing touchdowns was second only to the 40 by Aaron Rodgers. Ryan has not thrown an interception in the last five games and has been a lock for around 270 yards and at least two or three scores every week.

RUNNING BACK : Devonta Freeman ran for just 35 yards on 11 carries in Week 8 but scored once and added four catches for 23 yards and a second touchdown. Tevin Coleman did not play that week and Terron Ward subbed in for six runs that gained 46 yards. Since returning in Week 12, Coleman has scored six times over the last seven games including a score as a receiver in the last two games. This unit was not as successful in the first meeting but has since been one of the top units in the NFL with both combined yardage and touchdowns. Freeman and Coleman combined for 26 touchdowns this year. Coleman has been consistent around 50 rushing yards in most recent games while Freeman scored nine times over the five home games since he faced the Packers.

WIDE RECEIVER : In the first meeting, Julio Jones was held to only three catches for 29 yards but suffered a knee sprain in that game and did not play much in the final three quarters. Mohamed Sanu stepped up with nine catches for 84 yards with one score while Taylor Gabriel turned in his first big game with three catches for 68 yards and one score. Jones has been dealing with turf toe this year as well and re-injured it last week when he ended with six receptions for 67 yards and a score on the Seahawks. HC Dan Quinn said there was no concern about the toe and that it should not be any factor this week.

Sanu is still never good for more than four catches for moderate yardage but scored once in the last two games. Taylor Gabriel has been less productive in recent weeks and comes off a four catch, 71-yard effort last week. Gabriel is a bigger factor now than he was in Week 8.

TIGHT END : The tight ends are being used only minimally in recent weeks. Austin Hooper ended with five catches for 41 yards in that Week 8 game but rarely has more than one catch in any game for the last half of the season.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Packers score a lot and have a bad defense that only invites opponents to pass successfully. Ryan had a good game in the first meeting (288-3) and the Packers always allow a passing score if not three or four. In road games, only one quarterback (Carson Wentz) failed to pass for at least 280 yards on the Packers who allowed over 300 passing yards in each playoff game and at least two scores. Ryan should be a lock for high yardage and at least two scores if not three or four depending on the success of the rushing offense.

The Packers have been good against the run but mostly just at home. On the road they have already allowed three backs to top 100 rushing yards on them and nine touchdowns to the position away from Green Bay. Coleman is new to the party this time and should add a nice feature since the bigger backs are what have been most successful versus the Packers. The Falcons are sure to try to run the ball as much as they can to keep Rodgers from the field and will have more success this time around.

The Falcons are not using their tight ends much and they offer minimal yardage every week. Julio Jones should turn in a much better showing this time than when he was injured in Week 8 - so long as his toe really does not pose a problem. The Packers already gave up six 100 yard games on the road this year including 132 yards and two scores to Dez Bryant last week. Gabriel and Sanu will factor in but how much depends on how well the Falcons can (or cannot) run the ball and what the scoreboard situation is.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 2 3 14 1 9
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 31 5 32 20 22 14

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