Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Teams Put 4-Game Win Streaks On The Line
Both teams have been impressive in their last four games, with Atlanta having three of them come down to late game plays, but it is hard to argue that any team in the NFL has looked as good as the Packers recently.
In their last four games, Green Bay has averaged 28.3 points per game and has allowed a measly 8.5, including a shutout of the New York Jets. It needs to be mentioned that two of those wins came against Dallas and Minnesota, teams in complete disarray, but the stretch is extremely good nonetheless.
Atlanta has scored 31.5 PPG and allowed 28.3 during their streak, the second time they've won four straight this year.
This is a very even matchup, but both teams have statistical advantages they will look to exploit.
Atlanta is one of the best running teams in the league, averaging 129 rushing yards per game (YPG), good for seventh overall while Green Bay has struggled stopping the run, coming in at 18th with 112.1 rushing yards allowed per game.
The Packers also have a weak offensive ground game, 19th with 100.5 YPG, whereas the Falcons are giving up just 95.4 rushing YPG, sixth in the NFL.
Green Bay will look to take advantage of an Atlanta secondary that is 24th in the league against the pass. The Falcons defense will need to prevent big plays if they hope to win this game.
Conversely, the Packers will need to slow down a passing attack that has been on fire recently. They have the NFL's sack leader in Clay Matthews (11.5) and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Charles Woodson, who will be matched up with Roddy White, possibly the best receiver alive.
Matt Ryan has been sacked just twice in his last four games and was hardly touched last week by a St. Louis defense that came into the game leading the league in sacks. Keeping their quarterback upright again should swing the game in Atlanta's favor.
This will be the second time Ryan and Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers have squared off.
In 2008, the two met in a Week 5 game won by Atlanta, 27-24. Ryan was a rookie and Rodgers was in his fourth year then, but both of them were first-year full-time starters.
Neither quarterback has thrown an interception in their last three games, and Rodgers has one more touchdown (seven) than Ryan (six) in that span.
Rodgers does have nine interceptions on the year and Atlana's defense has been opportunistic in terms of creating turnovers, so he will need to be careful with the ball.
Offensively the teams are incredibly even.
The Falcons score 25.6 PPG and allow 19.2, while the Packers allow 14.6 and score 25.2.
With Atlanta's 5-0 home record this year compared to Green Bay's 3-2 road record, the Falcons will likely be favored, but only slightly.
If the game is close late, the advantage would go to the Falcons, as they have made a habit of winning nail-biters all year.
At the same time, Green Bay would love to stake their claim as best team in the NFC by beating the team with the conference's best record.
Still, neither team will want to lose and will be equally hungry for a win.
It should be a great game.
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