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
- 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
- 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.
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