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.
|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.|
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.