It’s a mostly sweet time for members of the Green Bay Packers community. The Packers are 3-0 and look like a true Super Bowl contender after what we saw last week on Sunday Night Football against the Saints. The offense, even without Davante Adams, looked amazing. And that’s where the bitter comes in. Allen Lazard will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on a core muscle. From what the internet doctors say, that’s not a fun injury. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to a rising star in Green Bay.
This week the Packers host the Atlanta Falcons, fresh off yet another embarrassing defeat. This time to the Chicago Bears. (Seriously, when are the Bears going to play a competent team? That schedule is pathetic) The Falcons lost to the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago when they seemingly forgot how to defend an onside kick. They really should be 2-1, but are always grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.
Let’s not lose sight of that, though. The Falcons have played mostly well enough to be a 2-1 football team. At the very worst, they should be 1-2. The offense led by Matt Ryan is putting up points and yards as well as any in the NFL right now. The defense just can’t seem to get a stop when it matters. Oh, and the offense seems to pack it up Mike McCarthy style once a comfortable lead has been obtained. It’s a good thing the Packers still get the Falcons before Dan Quinn gets fired. It’s a boost the Packers may not need but is nice to have.
The spread for this game opened around a touchdown and currently sits at Packers -7, -115. The -115 here means a lot of wagers are still coming in on the Packers and by kickoff we could see this line move to -7.5. I have to say in my amateur opinion, I’m surprised it isn’t closer to Packers -10. As I said, the Falcons could be a 2-1 football team if not for a botched onside kick and three 4th quarter touchdown passes from relief QB Nick Foles. But most of the public looking at this game just sees a pathetic 0-3 team and devastating losses. The perceived value of the Falcons, especially on the road outside of the domed environment, I expected to be lower.
This is good for us though. it means when we take the Packers, which I am this week again, and no I am not going to take the Packers every week (or will I?) we aren’t giving up what I think is a more fair number of points. I expected this line to be closer to Packers -10, but only giving up -7 means I have 3 points of value in my pocket. This is my perceived value, anyway.
The Packers are looking like they’ll swap back in Davante Adams this week who missed last week with a minor hamstring injury. Missing Lazard will hurt, but at least the receiving corps won’t be totally depleted of talent for the time being. Regardless, Aaron Rodgers should have a field day because the Falcons defense is simply not good. I’ll be excited to watch tight ends Robert Tonyan and Jace Sternberger this week. And of course, Aaron Jones and Tyler Ervin working out of the backfield as receivers.
The Packers defense has been under fire each of the last two weeks for giving up early spurts to the Lions and chunk plays to the Saints. But mostly just Alvin Kamara. I’m afraid to say we may see similar uproar on the Twitter machine from fans this week because the Falcons offense can move the ball. Julio Jones should be back on the field and Calvin Ridley is one of the best receivers in the league through three weeks. Kevin King and Jaire Alexander will have their work cut out for them, especially late in the game where I fear a backdoor cover possibility from the Falcons.
I suspect the Packers to be leading early and Matt LaFleur to keep the pedal down all game as he has through three weeks so far, so I don’t want to overthink this one. Any game against the Falcons the Packers win by less than two scores is not acceptable and I think the locker room knows that. Let’s take the Packers -7 while we can and get to 4-0 on the field and against the spread.
Tanner Nestle is born and raised in Wisconsin, and he takes nothing more seriously than his fandom of the Green Bay Packers! You can follow him on twitter at @NestleIsTheName.