Week 14 in the NFL closes tonight after the Green Bay Packers take on the Atlanta Falcons from the frigid Lambeau Field. This is actually a matchup of division leaders despite the Packers at 9-3 and the Falcons only have a 5-7 record. A win for the Packers tonight would put them back into a tie with the Cardinals for first place in the conference. A win for Atlanta would give the Falcons some breathing room in a very clustered NFC South.
The Packers are coming off their biggest win of the season yet as they held on to beat the Patriots last week. The Falcons are coming off an impressive defensive showing against the Cardinals in which they bottled up the Cardinals’ usually very effective ground game.
That Atlanta defense is going to need to be at its best too if they have any hopes of competing in tonight’s game. The Packers have one of, if not the most, potent offense in football and their balanced attack keeps teams guessing all game long. It almost seems unfair to give a quarterback as good as Aaron Rodgers weapons like Randal Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy. But those guys make up the core of this group. Outside of last week’s showing, the Falcons have been nothing short of woeful against the run, as they are tied for the most rushing touchdowns allowed this year. Look for the Packers to run Eddie Lacy early and often to frustrate this Atlanta team. It keeps the ball away from Matt Ryan and will eventually lead to the Falcons stacking the box to slow down Lacy. At that point Rodgers will take his pick of who he wants to throw to with single coverage cause his receivers are some of the best at creating separation.
For the Falcons, they will return to the same strategy them employed last week against Arizona: throw to Julio Jones. The third year wide out registered 10 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown while going against a quality opponent in Patrick Peterson. The Packers will likely try to double Jones all night which could lead to another big day from Steven Jackson who recorded his first 100-yard outing of the season last week. Harry Douglas should also get involved again with Roddy White active but still recovering from an ankle injury. If Matt Ryan and his receivers get in sync, this could be a high scoring game.
Prediction: Yes the Falcons are the more desperate team here in need of a win but the Packers are simply too talented across the board. Their defense limited the Patriots offense last week and right now this team looks like the best in football. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons keep it close early cause Green Bay will likely stick true to the game plan all night eventually pulling away for the win. Packers stay hot and win it 34-21.