ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 28: Jarrett Bush #24 of the Green Bay Packers looks on as Michael Koenen Jonathan Babineaux #95 and Matt Bryant #3 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate Bryant's go-ahead field goal in the final seconds at Georgia Dome on November 28 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Falcons Win 20-17, Clinch Third-Straight Winning Season

Matt Ryan improves to 19-1 at home and the Falcons have won five straight. Join The Falcoholic for more Falcons, and Acme Packing Company for more Packers.

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Matt Ryan Continues Historic Success Rate At Home

With their 20-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons clinched their third straight winning season. Not coincidentally, Matt Ryan and Mike Smith entered the picture three years ago. Over that same time span, Ryan has been nearly perfect at home, compiling a remarkable 19-1 (.950) record in games played at the Georgia Dome, tying Danny White for the best winning percentage in a player’s first 20 starts at home among QBs who began their careers in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

Let's take a look at the list.

PLAYER

TEAM

WINS

LOSSES

WIN PCT.

Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons

19

1

.950

Danny White

Dallas

19

1

.950

Marc Bulger

St. Louis

18

2

.900

Dan Marino

Miami

18

2

.900

Kyle Orton

Chicago/Denver

18

2

.900

Philip Rivers

San Diego

18

2

.900

Kurt Warner

St. Louis

18

2

.900

 

s

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Green Bay Packers Vs. Atlanta Falcons Recap: Falcons Win Fifth Straight After 20-17 Victory

With the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints winning on Thanksgiving Day, the pressure was on the Atlanta Falcons to maintain their slim lead in the NFC South. Against Green Bay on Sunday, they did just that; beating the Packers on a last-second field goal, 20-17, to improve to 9-2.

Matt Ryan completed 24 of 28 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown. He was efficient working underneath as the Packers did not let the Falcons’ receivers go deep. Michael Turner was his usual dominant self gaining 110 yards on 23 carries and scoring on a fourth-and-goal from the one. Roddy White was held to five catches for only 49 yards but Tony Gonzalez picked up the slack with a touchdown and six catches.

The Packers outgained the Falcons, 418 to 294 but it was an Aaron Rodgers’ turnover at the goalline that proved to be the difference in this one. The Packers, tied at three, drove to the one-yard line and appeared in control of the game when Rodgers attempted a quarterback sneak. The ball was knocked loose and Mike Peterson recovered. It was Rodgers’ first fumble all season. The Falcons capitalized with a 14-play, 80-yard drive to go ahead 10-3. They would never relinquish the lead.

The Falcons have now won five straight games, are undefeated at home (6-0) and have the best record in the NFL. That’s the good news. The bad news is they still have to play the Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the next four weeks and they start a three-game road trip next week in Tampa Bay.

Even at 9-2, the Falcons can’t let up. They’ll likely need to finish with 12 wins to win the division and clinch homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. This is crucial for the Falcons since their 3-2 road record doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. The Falcons have enjoyed four of their last five games in the Georgia Dome but the next three weeks will be their biggest test. Can they continue their high-level of play on the road?

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Packers Vs. Falcons Fantasy Football Update: Michael Turner And Aaron Rodgers Shine In NFC Showdown

Behind the solid running of Michael Turner, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers, 20-17. Turner carried 23 times for 110 yards and one touchdown. This is the sixth 100-yard game this season for Turner and the fourth time in the last five games that he’s reached that plateau. He’s officially healthy and returning to his 2008 form.

In a losing effort, Aaron Rodgers delivered a winning fantasy performance for his owners. He threw for 344 yards on 26 of 35 passing and added 51 yards on 12 carries and one rushing touchdown.

Greg Jennings, our start of the week, finished with five catches for 119 yards but did not get into the endzone. Our sit of the week, Brandon Jackson, finished with 10 carries for 26 yards. You’re welcome.

Jordy Nelson added 61 yards and one touchdown for the Packers while Tony Gonzalez (six catches for 51 yards and one touchdown) and Matt Ryan (198 yards passing and one touchdown) also had nice fantasy days for the Falcons.

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Packers-Falcons Score Update: Dunta Robinson Stands As An Observer To Give Aaron Rodgers Touchdown

I’m not sure quite what to say. Did I expect this to happen? I’d have to say yes. The Falcons defense is notoriously horrendous in pass defense and it kiled the team for the three-thousand and fifty seventh time for the season. Aaron Rodgers had all the time in the world and was able to find Jordan Nelson for the touchdown reception to tie the game up at 17 a piece.

With 49 seconds left on the clock the Falcons get the ball on the fifty yard line and have a chance to win the game, but is it the first time the team can’t win a game in the last 2 minutes?

Matt Ryan has been very good in the last two minutes throughout his career as his nickname Matty Ice is an extension of that. It would seem the Falcons need about a 45 yard field goal to give them a chance to win the game.

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Packers-Falcons Injury Update: Jason Snelling Down Return Is Questionable

Jason Snelling went down on Sunday and it appears his questionable is return. He was much needed on that last offensive drive for the Falcons as they couldn’t complete a crucial 3rd down.

The defense now has this game to lose (or win depending on your perspective). Rodgers has been brilliant all day long and is a fantasy stud. It’ll be a frustrating ride to the end of the game with 7 minutes 30 left on the clock, plenty of time for the Packers to get that game tying touchdown.

John Abraham and the front-four have to step up and get pressure on the Packers All-Pro QB and the secondary has to shutdown the receivers.

So far it appears that the likes of Brent Grimes, Thomas Decoud and William Moore have been able to limit some of the deeper throws, but they have to rap up the ball-carrier and limit their yards after the catch. 

Aaron Rodgers maneuvarability has killed the Falcons at time and he's been the Packers leading rusher. 

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Packers-Falcons Score Update: Michael Turner Legs Of Steel Run For Touchdown

What a drive, a needed one at that. The Falcons after giving up a touchdown marched down the field and gave one back to the Pakcers as Turner punched it in for the 1-yard score.

A controversial ruling on the field had Tony Gonzalez not catching the touchdown (inconclusive evidence was the rule). It didn’t matter as the Falcons went for it on 4th and Goal.

Matt Ryan was efficient on the drive making the necessary throws to pick up the first downs. As well the receivers did a good job of getting separation to help him. They need to keep it up if we are to win the game. 

Another methodical drive had the Falcons chew up a bunch of clock. As we head into the fourth quarter it’ll be another nail-bitting finish as we all know that Green Bay is a high powered offense. The defense cannot afford to go into their prevent defense it was something they did against the Ravens and it cost them dearly let’s see if it happens again.

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Packers Vs. Falcons Fantasy Football Update: Aaron Rodgers Having Great Game

After watching game film of the Atlanta Falcons all season, the Green Bay Packers knew they would be able to throw the ball against this secondary. What they didn’t know is they would be able to run against as well. As long as it’s with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has been leading the way with 200 yards through the air on 14-for-17 passing and has added 34 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He would have had another rushing touchdown but he fumbled at the goalline.

With the game tied and the Packers running backs unable to gain ground against the Falcons’ front four, Rodgers will continue to be a crucial part of the Packers offense. To put it into perspective, Rodgers leads the Packers with 34 yards rushing. The second-leading rusher is former Falcons practice squader, Dmitri Nance with one carry for zero yards.

Until the Falcons figure out a way to stop Rodgers, his big fantasy day will surely get bigger.

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Packers-Falcons Score Update: Atlanta Gives Up Their Usual 3rd Quarter Touchdown, 10-10

Big chunks of yards is the utter definition of what the Atlanta Falcons defense gives up. On the last Packers drive Aaron Rodgers picked and chose who and what he wanted as he ran in for what was an obvious draw play.

It’s probably safe to say that Green Bay “deserved” a touchdown as they have looked just as good on offense as Atlanta, but that’s not how the NFL works. If everything was “fair and equal” we’d see a lot more clarity.

But enough of that. Atlanta needs to make sure they contain Aaron Rodgers. The Packers offense is Rodgers, the buck stops with him. Contain him and you can contain the entirety of that football team, it’s not always as simple as that but it seems sometimes the defense forgets about him.

Atlanta now has the ball and is looking to equalize, though they looked like a frozen caveman at 40 yard line last time.

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[VIDEO] Packers Vs. Falcons: Tony Gonzalez TD Catch Gave Falcons 10-3 Lead

In a game filled with lots of yards but not a lot of points, the ageless wonder, Tony Gonzalez, recorded the games first touchdown on a 4-yard grab from Matt Ryan. The offense rewarded the defense for their huge stop at the goalline and took a 10-3 lead in this NFC showdown.

Gonzalez Catches Wide-Open 4-Yard TD

Watch closely as Gonzalez expertly weaves between several defenders, and makes an impossible catch. Marvel at the pinpoint pass that Matt Ryan had to deliver between the outstretched arms of……or just watch the Packers completely lose track of the greatest tight end of all-time at the goalline and let him make an easy catch from Ryan.

We know the numbers. The Falcons are 22-6 under Mike Smith when they score first. They are 23-1 when they lead at halftime. Now the Falcons will just need to close the deal. Gonzalez and Ryan cashed in when the defense made a big stop. Will it be enough?

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Packers Vs. Falcons Halftime: Evenly-Matched First Half Has Falcons In The Lead

If this game is a preview of a possible NFC Championship game, then count me in. After a first half that’s seen both offenses move the ball without much opposition, the Falcons lead the Packers, 10-3.

The Falcons, as they have in nearly every game this season, lead most of the stat sheet categories at halftime. They have 10 first downs to nine for the Packers. The Falcons have gained six more total yards, outgaining them by 29 on the ground but have allowed the Packers to throw for 23 more yards.

Penalties have played a big role in the first half with the Falcons committing three and the Packers getting called for four. Time of possession is being controlled by the Falcons with almost 17 minutes for the home team.

The lone turnover in the game has been the difference. Aaron Rodgers fumbled at the Falcons’ goalline and Atlanta drove 80 yards to take the lead at halftime.

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Packers-Falcons Score Update: Tony Gonzalez Scores Touchdown In The Redzone

Aaron Rodgers had his first fumble of the year, thank goodness for Atlanta’s sake it was today. After the Falcons defense gave up completion after completion they tightened their grip in the Red-zone holding Rodgers and forcing the turnover.

With that Matt Ryan took control and marched the team down in a time consuming drive (6 minutes to be exact). It left 12 seconds on the clock and Tony Gonzalez caught the touchdown to put Atlanta up 10-3.

We have to thank our lucky stars twice.

First, the fact that Rodgers fumbled the ball astounds me. He’s usually one to take care of the ball.

Second, the fact that the Packers didn’t review that Gonzalez 4th down reception that by all accounts was incomplete.

But that’s what you get in this league, it’s up to your team to capitalize and make your own fortunes. The touchdown pass was no luck, that was execution, so for all you fair-weather fans remember that as you try to dismiss the lone touchdown for either team today.

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Packers-Falcons Game Update: High-Scoring Offenses Fail To Score TDs In First Quarter

Both the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers came into this game with high-scoring offenses but it’s their defenses that have come up big in the first quarter. The Falcons settled for a Matt Bryant field goal after a long drive stalled and the Packers answered with a field goal of their own to tie this NFC showdown at three points apiece.

Both teams managed four first downs in the first quarter with the Packers outgaining the Falcons 75 to 62 in total yards. One thing that is becoming clear is the Packers inability to run the ball. Outside of Aaron Rodgers and his scrambles, the Packers can’t move the ball on the ground against the Falcons front four.

If the most balanced offense is the key to victory, then the Falcons will be 9-2 after this but unfortunately it only takes one 80-yard TD pass to Greg Jennings to change the momentum. The second quarter is underway and we’re all tied.

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Packers-Falcons Score Update: Matt Bryant Opens Up Proceedings To Lead 3-0

A personal foul penalty on Harvey Dahl forced Atlanta out of field goal range on third down but Matt Ryan was able to find Michael Jenkins to set up a field goal to get some points.

Atlanta started things with a nice drive to set the tone as Ryan hooked up with Roddy White for a couple of first downs. Also Michael Turner was running efficiently towards the left side which is surprising to say the least (Sam Baker isn’t a notorious run blocker).

Keep your eyes on Clay Matthews though so far it appears the Falcons front line has done a decent job of keeping Matt Ryan upright as he himself has manipulated the pocket to pick up key first downs.

Atlanta’s defense however is key to today’s matchup. If they can’t stop Aaron Rodgers and his high powered offense we can say so long to a win. So keep an eye on that too.

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Packers Vs. Falcons Game Update: Falcons Continue To Control Time Of Possession

The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFL with more five minute drives than any other team. They have gained a reputation as a balanced offense that controls the football and eats up the clock. Not only that, but they actually deliver points to end those drives.

That trend continues in Week 12. The Falcons lead the Packers 3-0 in the first quarter thanks to Matt Bryant’s 38-yard field goal which capped off a 10-play, 55-yard drive using up over five minutes of game clock and converting four first downs. Matt Ryan was 3-for-4 passing for 40 yards and Michael Turner added 25 yards on five carries. Michael Jenkins, Roddy White and Jason Snelling all caught one pass each for 14, 14 and 12 yards, respectively.

The Falcons offense has been their defense’s best friend. Allowing them ample time to rest during the game and keeping them fresh to harass opposing quarterbacks. After a three-and-out by the Packers, the Falcons are back on offense and if history is any indication, they’ll be out there for a while.

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Green Bay Packers Vs. Atlanta Falcons: DE John Abraham Will Play

OFFICIAL: John Abraham will play today for the Falcons #atlgb10less than a minute ago via Seesmic Desktop

 

From the official site comes news that Falcons sackmaster, John Abraham, will suit up and play against Aaron Rodgers and the visiting Green Bay Packers. Abraham has eight sacks this year and his impact was sorely missed last week when the Falcons were unable to put any kind of pressure on Rams quarterback, Sam Bradford. The rest of the inactives are listed below, though none are significant. The Falcons will have all their weapons at their disposal when they try to take a huge step towards clinching homefield advantage.

Falcons Inactives: JP Wilson (3 QB) CB D. Franks -RB A. Smith-OT G. Reynolds-OG M. Johnson-E M. Palmer-DE L. Sidbury-DT T. Lewis #atlgb10less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

 

 

For the Packers, the only notable starter missing – other than Atari Bigby who was expected to miss this game – is TE Donald Lee. Andrew Quarless will get the start in his place. Quarless, you’ll remember, started earlier in the season when both Lee and original starter, Jermichael Finley went down with injuries. Lee’s injury shouldn’t hurt the Packers offense overall since Rodgers hasn’t been targeting the tight ends as much since Finley was placed on injured reserve.

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Packers Vs. Falcons Fantasy Football: Start Packers' WR Greg Jennings Against The Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have scored the ninth-most points in the NFL this season (256). The Green Bay Packers are 12th in the league with 252 points scored in 2010. The Falcons average 29.8 points when they play in the Georgia Dome, over eight points more than they average on the road. The Packers follow the same pattern, averaging 31 points at Lambeau Field but only 19.4 when they travel. With both teams averaging over 25 points this season, their Week 12 showdown has all the building blocks of a shootout. Which fantasy player will best take advantage of those points and which one should you keep on your bench? Let's dig in.

Start

Packers' WR Greg Jennings - The Falcons' secondary has allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year. They have given up 11 wide receiver touchdowns in the past five games. Jennings has scored six touchdowns in his last five games and has averaged 6.4 receptions and 104 yards in those contests. He's the number one target for Aaron Rodgers in a pass-first offense. The Falcons' secondary takes gambles (they are second in the NFL with 15 interceptions) but they have also been getting beat on a regular basis this year. Start Jennings and continue to ride the hot hand.

Sit

Packers' RB Brandon Jackson - I'm not sure whether the Falcons' pass defense is bad because their run defense is so solid teams are forced to pass or their run defense is rated so high because their pass defense is terrible and teams never need to run. It's the chicken and the egg really, but the Falcons' rush defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Jackson is a questionable start most weeks but especially this week, he deserves to be left on the bench. Stick with the Packers' passing game in this one.

Final Thoughts

Rodgers, Michael Turner (despite the Packers' third-ranked rush defense) and Roddy White are all must-starts, regardless of the matchup. You simply can never bench them. Mason Crosby may struggle since the Falcons allow the second-fewest points to opposing kickers. The rest of the Falcons and Packers are all moderate plays depending on the rest of your team.

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Green Bay Packers Vs. Atlanta Falcons Injuries: Five Players May Miss Week 12 Showdown

The biggest game in Week 12 of the NFL season will take place in he Georgia Dome when the 7-3 Green Bay Packers and 8-2 Atlanta Falcons square off in a game that could decide homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. DE John Abraham is the only Falcon of significance who may miss this game. He was unable to go last week against the St. Louis Rams and the pass rush suffered, netting zero sacks. The Packers will be without S Atari Bigby and may not have S Anthony Smith available either. Both players are backups for the Pack so only their depth in the secondary would be affected. Enjoy the full reports from the official sites and check back Sunday morning for the latest list of inactives.

The official injury report via AtlantaFalcons.com:

DE John Abraham (groin) Questionable

LB Curtis Lofton (knee) Probable

DT Corey Peters (rib) Probable

S Shann Schillinger (head) Questionable

RB Antone Smith (hamstring) Doubtful

WR Eric Weems (pectoral) Probable

WR Roddy White (knee) Probable

The official injury report via Packers.com:

Bigby, Atari S (Hamstring) Out

Clifton, Chad T (Knee) probable

Driver, Donald WR (Quadricep) probable

Jenkins, Cullen DE (Calf) probable

Matthews, Clay LB (Shin) probable

Pickett, Ryan DE/NT (Ankle) probable

Smith, Anthony S (Ankle) doubtful

Wells, Scott C (Arch) probable

Woodson, Charles CB (Toe) probable

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Packers Vs. Falcons Madden NFL 11 Simulation: Both Offenses Move The Ball But Points Are Hard To Come By

In the biggest game of Week 12, we know what the flesh and blood experts think about the outcome of Packers vs. Falcons but what does the simulation engine of Madden NFL 11 predict will happen? The Madden prediction engine went three-for-three predicting the Thanksgiving day games, even predicting a three-point win for the New Orleans Saints but now we'll find out what the Falcons digital chances are.

From EA Sports via ESPN:

While many experts predicted big things for the Green Bay Packers this season, it's the Atlanta Falcons who are the surprise of the NFC, sitting on top with a record of 8-2. Make that 9-2 after this week, as according to "Madden" the Falcons get 334 yards passing from Matt Ryan, 136 yards rushing from Michael Turner, and 154 yards receiving from Roddy White to beat the Packers, 17-10.

 

Player of the Game: Roddy White

 

Screen_shot_2010-11-26_at_9

Recap:

The Falcons roll up a lot of yards but only 17 points in a seven-point win over the popular pre-season NFC favorite, Packers. Matt Ryan outduels Aaron Rodgers, throwing for 334 yards on 26-for-41 passing and one touchdown to Roddy White. White continues his record-breaking season with 10 catches for 154 yards and one score. The ground game had no trouble either with Michael Turner gaining 136 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Both White and Turner had plays of over 50 yards. Turner's was a 64-yard run and White caught a 59-yard pass from Ryan.

The Packers were led by Rodgers' 288 yards passing and one touchdown but it was the ground game that couldn't get going against one of the top defenses in the league. Brandon Jackson managed only 54 yards on 15 carries but Greg Jennings was a bright spot in the passing game, catching eight passes for 91 yards and one score.

I would not expect a 17-10 game with these two offenses but I'd certainly take it. The Falcons are tied for the league lead with five wins this season by less than one score. They win the close ones and I expect this one to be close. Call it 31-27, Falcons.

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Packers Vs. Falcons: The Experts Weigh In With Their NFL Week 12 Picks And Predictions

The Atlanta Falcons have beaten the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints. They are undefeated at home and have the best record in the league. Yet still, they are not classified as a great team by many folks. That perception has been changing with each win but how do the national experts think they'll fare against the Green Bay Packers in the best game of Week 12? You know there's going to be a chart.

Source Winner Notes
ESPN Consensus Falcons Seven of the 10 ESPN experts like the Falcons at home against the Packers. Only Chris Mortensen, Mark Schlereth and the Accuscore computer think otherwise.
Yahoo Sports Consensus Split The votes are split among the Yahoo experts with Les Carpenter and Jason Cole in the Falcons corner and Michael Silver and the Yahoo Users betting on the Packers.
CBS Sports Consensus Falcons Four of five experts at CBS think the Falcons will stay undefeated at home but Dave Richard vehemently disagrees. There's no way to know if he was vehement but it's a good word and I like to use it when I can.
Fanhouse Packers Dave Goldberg: Everyone ignores the Falcons, one of three 8-2 teams in the NFL. They win by average scores, they win at home and they ... Well, they just don't seem like a power. But they're pretty good. So are the Packers, who already have shut out the Jets in the Meadowlands. The same Packers who are getting healthier. The same Packers who ... you get the idea. Packers 17, Falcons 13.
What If Sports Packers Projection says the Falcons lose, 22-21.
Sports Illustrated Packers Peter King: Game of the Week, by far. Great battle between two of the game's top 10 quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers 260 yards per game, Matt Ryan 250. Rodgers .641 completion rate, Ryan .631. The difference here? The Green Bay corners. Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson will give Ryan his toughest day of the year so far. Packers 23, Falcons 16.
USA Today Split Another split decision with four experts leaning Atlanta and four on Green Bay's side.
Sporting News Split Russ Lande hasn't made his pick yet, but with six votes cast, it's another split with three for the Falcons and three for the Packers of Green Bay.
SBN Chicago Falcons The random number generator loves the Falcons, 34-9.
Battle Red Blog Packers TexansDC: I'm still not sold in Atlanta as elite. That would change if they could slow down the Packers. Behind Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, the Packers have shown they can beat elite teams in a shoot-out or defensive struggle. They'll do it on the road against a playoff team. Packers win 24-20.
SBN ATL Falcons Josh Massey: In each of the past two weeks, a loss to the Packers has resulted in a coach's firing (Wade Phillips with Dallas, Brad Childress with Minnesota). Even if the Falcons fall on Sunday, I'm thinking Mike Smith won't be updating his resume anytime soon. This game is scary for Atlanta because success relies on the DBs - and we're going to learn a whole lot about Dunta Robinson on Sunday. And though my fingers are itchy to type "PICK: Green Bay," something tells me domefield advantage is going to be enough. (Barely.) PICK: Atlanta

 

More experts are still on the Falcons side (22-17), but it's a lot closer this week than it has been in the past. There are a couple things I've learned when betting on the NFL - for educational purposes only. Number one: Don't bet against Peyton Manning in primetime. Don't bet against Tom Brady after a loss. And never bet against the Falcons at home. They are 18-3 in the Georgia Dome since Mike Smith took over as head coach, 18-1 in games that Matt Ryan starts. The Packers are good and if this game was in Lambeau I could be talked into taking them but in Atlanta, the Falcons find a way.

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Packers Vs. Falcons Wednesday Injury Report: Roddy White And John Abraham Did Not Practice

In a game with huge playoff impact and possible homefield advantage implications, the 8-2 Atlanta Falcons play host to the 7-3 Green Bay Packers. Both teams are talented and both have played great football this season so injuries, as they so often do, will play a big part in this one. The Packers have been snakebit this season, placing 11 players on injured reserve. By comparison, the Falcons have lost only four players to IR. What's the health status of two of the three best teams in the NFC? The official injury report reveals all.

WR Roddy White (knee) DNP

DE John Abraham (groin) DNP

S Shann Schillinger (head) DNP

RB Antone Smith (hamstring) DNP

LB Curtis Lofton (knee) LP

DT Corey Peters (rib) LP

WR Eric Weems (pectoral) LP

Before the panic fully gripped my body, the Falcons official Twitter page puts my mind at ease about the dreaded DNP after Roddy's name.

JUST IN: Roddy White, John Abraham, Shann Schillinger and Antone Smith did NOT practice today. For Roddy, it was just for rest. #atlgb10less than a minute ago via Seesmic Desktop

 

Abraham missed last week so his status remains up in the air for this one, despite Mike Smith calling it a "maintenance day". The Falcons couldn't generate a pass rush against the Rams without the Predator and letting Aaron Rodgers stand upright is not going to be good for any Falcon fan. It's important that Abe is able to get back out there. Schillinger and Smith also sat out but neither are crucial cogs in this machine. No need to worry about Lofton, Peters and Weems unless they don't practice tomorrow or Friday.

The good news is Sean Weatherspoon appears to be fully healed from his knee injury that kept him out for over a month. He was active last week but played sparingly and did not make the stat sheet. Now that we know the health meter of the Falcons, how are the Packers faring against the injury bug this week? More from Jay Adams:

JUST IN: Clay Matthews, Donald Driver and Charles Woodson were all at limited participation for the Packers today #atlgb10less than a minute ago via Seesmic Desktop

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Packers Vs. Falcons: The Numbers Game, A Green Bay-Atlanta Stats-apalooza

Welcome to the pre-game, quick hit, stats-apalooza. This is a broad, statistical overview of the current Atlanta Falcons opponent. This week, it's the Green Bay Packers. The Packers will travel south 766 miles to play the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons are playing at home for the fourth time in five games but this is the last time they'll do so until Dec. 27, when they return from a three-game road trip. Let's learn a little bit about our guests.

Green Bay is the smallest market team in the NFL. By comparison, Atlanta is the seventh-largest market among areas that have an NFL team. The city of Green Bay is known far-and-wide as TitleTown, U.S.A. As Wikipedia notes, "The name appears on the city seal, is used by the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce for its web address (www.titletown.org) and variations of the word appear in the name of more than two dozen local businesses."

The Packers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL with only six players over 30 years old. Charles Woodson is in his 13th year making him the longest-tenured Packer. The Falcons have 12 players older than 30, with Tony Gonzalez matching Woodson's 13-year career. Bonus: Both the Falcons and Packers' last playoff losses were at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. The Falcons in 2008 and the Packers last season. More spookiness: Both losses were by six points

SERIES HISTORY: Since Matt Ryan arrived, the Falcons have played the Packers only once. In 2008, Week 5 at Lambeau Field. It was the fifth-ever start for both Ryan and Aaron Rodgers. In an offensive shootout, the Falcons edged the Packers, 27-24, thanks to Atlanta's big three of Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White. Ryan threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns, Turner rushed for 121 yards and one touchdown and White caught eight passes for 132 yards and one touchdown. Rodgers was already showing glimpses of what he would become by finding eight different receivers for 313 yards and three scores.

The Packers have always had the offense but now they have a defense to match. I expect another shootout this week with the Falcons, as they've done all year, making one more play than their opponent.

Falcons Vs. Packers

The Falcons bring their plus-10 turnover margin (second-best in the NFL) into the Week 12 meeting with the Packers. This will be the 26th time the Falcons have played the Packers. The Falcons trail the all-time series 12-13 which includes two playoff games. In 1995, the Falcons lost 37-20 in the "we choose not to run the ball" game. Then, after the 2002 season, the Falcons gave the Packers their first-ever playoff loss in Lambeau Field, 27-7.

This is the 10th time in 11 games the Falcons are playing a team that leads the lifetime series against them.

The Falcons record against the Packers (by decade):

  • 2000s ...3-2
  • 1990s ...2-2
  • 1980s ...3-2
  • 1970s ...4-3
  • 1960s ...0-4

Average Score in all 25 meetings:

  • Falcons 20.3
  • Packers 23.9

Average Yards:

  • Falcons 303.7
  • Packers 350.9

Most Points Scored:

Falcons 47, Nov. 27, 1983

Highlight: After falling behind by 21, the Falcons score 41 of the next 54 points to take a 41-34 lead before finally winning in overtime on a pick six by Kenny Johnson.

Packers 56, Oct. 23, 1966


Fewest Points Scored:

Falcons, 0, Oct. 1, 1967

Packers 0, Nov. 6, 1988

Longest Streak:

  • The Packers picked on the defenseless expansion Falcons by winning five in a row between 1966 and 1970.
  • When the Falcons got their feet underneath them, they won three in a row over the Packers between 1971 and 1974.

Coaches:

The Packers' Mike McCarthy is 46-31 as a head coach and is 7-6 lifetime against the Falcons as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Packers. He is 2-2 in Week 11 games all-time but both those wins have come against the Lions. He's yet to win a Week 12 game when he has to play against a non-Detroit team.

Mike Smith is 28-15 as Falcons head coach and is 2-0 in Week 12 games. He is 2-1 against the Packers all-time including his time as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Best Individual Performances Against the Packers:

  • Passing: Jeff George, 366 yards, 1995
  • Rushing: Williams Andrews, 129 yards, 1983
  • Receiving: Roddy White, 132 yards, 2008
  • Sacks: multiple players, most recent was John Abraham and Grady Jackson, 1, 2008
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Green Bay Packers Vs. Atlanta Falcons: The Toughest Test Yet

To take down the Green Bay Packers on Sunday the Atlanta Falcons will have to play even better than they did against the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday. The Pack have the NFL's best point differential by 36 points -- and that's the biggest margin between any two teams in the entire league. Going by pure points production alone, they've been better than the Pittsburgh Steelers by a greater margin than the Arizona Cardinals have been better than the Carolina Panthers.

You heard me correctly: they're the opposite of the Panthers, but even more so. How scary is that?

QB Aaron Rodgers has been one of the league's best quarterbacks for three years now. In LB Clay Matthews they might have the NFL Defensive Player of the Year this year, and he's backed by last year's winner of the award, CB Charles Woodson. On the other side they've got CB Tramon Williams, who's allowed one catch of 20 yards or more all year. Roddy White has his work cut out no matter where he lines up.

Top ten or close to it in just about every statistical category, they have very, very few weaknesses. The one edge Falcons fans should hope the Birds can exploit: Green Bay's rushing defense has allowed 119 or more yards in all but three games this season, including 196 to Adrian Peterson and company. Their secondary will also be dinged up, as they'll be without both Atari Bigby and Anthony Smith after losing Morgan Burnett earlier this year.

But still, this team has dealt with big injuries all year long. Of their three losses, two were in overtime and the other was by a single point. Other than that they've been flattening teams, shutting out the New York Jets in New York, ending Wade Phillips' career as Dallas Cowboys coach, and then doing the same for Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress. Win this game, and the Falcons are hands-down one of the NFC's two best teams and the favorite to win home field advantage. Lose it, and the rest of the NFC South is right back in the division race.



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