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Can The Packers Ride The Wave Against Falcons Sunday?
Updated September 14, 2023
What: Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons – NFL Week 2
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
When: Sunday, September 17th
Week 2 of the NFL season brings an intriguing matchup between the new-look Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET in Atlanta. The Cheesheads began their campaign with an impressive win over their divisional rivals, the Chicago Bears, as Jordan Love starred in his first game as QB1. As for the Falcons, they managed to beat the rebuilding Carolina Panthers by a score of 24-10. Both teams will be looking to move to 2-0 here. Keep reading for the Packers vs Falcons picks.
The Packers are a very slim favorite here with -120 odds. The Falcons come back at +100. The spread is favoring Green Bay by a mere one point, which is probably accurate considering the matchup. The total in points is set at 40.5. As for head-to-head history, the Packers have notched back-to-back victories over Atlanta. But the Falcons are unbeaten in the last three games against them on home turf. That includes a win in the 2016 NFC Championship, where Matt Ryan bested Aaron Rodgers.
New Packers Era
No, Aaron Rodgers, no problem. Okay, well perhaps it’s a little bit soon to say that, considering Green Bay just beat the Bears of all teams, but there is certainly reason to be positive. Love really looked solid in his first game as the clear-cut starter, completing 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. And guess what? That was without Christian Watson, who is expected to be one of his top targets.
A plethora of weapons did damage. Romeo Doubs, Aaron Jones, Luke Musgrave, and Jayden Reed all made their presence felt out wide. Jones, a true leader and Swiss Army knife for the Packers, also ran for 4.6 yards per carry and had two touchdowns in total, one through the air and one on the ground. While it took some time for Green Bay to get started after a slow first half, things eventually opened up, and they ultimately won convincingly.
That being said, there could be some injury concerns in Week 2. Both Jones and Watson didn’t practice Wednesday as they continue to deal with hamstring injuries. The Cheeseheads got by without Watson last Sunday, but Jones is far too important not to have healthy. If he’s not able to go, AJ Dillon will really need to step up while Patrick Taylor will probably be called up from the practice squad again after an impressive Week 1 showing.
Can Falcons Win Another?
It’s common knowledge that the NFC South is absolutely wide open. We really have no clue what to expect from the Panthers, Saints, or Buccaneers, and to be honest, the Falcons have just as much of a chance at winning the division as the other three teams. But that’s only if Desmond Ridder can play up to the level Atlanta is expecting. After all, the Falcons did put up 24 points on Sunday. However, it wasn’t exactly because of their QB.
Ridder, who was given the starting job toward the end of last season, completed 15 of 18 passes for just 115 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t nearly aggressive enough and barely got Drake London and Kyle Pitts involved, his top two targets. In fact, London didn’t have a single catch. Ridder was also sacked four times. Yes, the run game is going to be the focus of Arthur Smith’s offense, but his signal-caller must get these pass-catchers involved a lot more.
Speaking of the run game, rookie Bijan Robinson balled out as we all expected. The former Texas standout ran for 5.6 yards per carry and also had six receptions for 27 yards. Robinson was easily the team’s most involved offensive weapon. Tyler Allgeier also looked great in the backfield, rushing for 75 yards on 15 carries, including two touchdowns. These two are capable of forming a lethal duo that could be an absolute handful for opposing defenses.
When it comes to Atlanta’s injuries, they got a boost Wednesday with the return of cornerback Jeff Okudah and RB Cordarrelle Patterson to practice, which is certainly good news. Who knows how much action Patterson will actually see if he’s able to suit up Sunday, but regardless, it gives the Falcons another option at running back if Robinson or Allgeier are struggling.
Packers vs Falcons Picks
The Falcon’s defense was really sharp in the season opener and made Bryce Young’s life a living hell. I expect a lot of the same, especially at home, and with some potential absences for Green Bay offensively, Atlanta looks like the best pick. Robinson and Allgeier will do their thing again and play a key part in their team collecting another win.