The Falcons are favored to beat the Green Bay Packers next week and advance to the Super Bowl.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
For my full column looking ahead to next week’s game, click here.
But here are a few things to consider:
— As great as Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is, Matt Ryan has had a better season and so has the Falcons’ offense. Feel free to Google. You’ll find all of the numbers you’ll need.
— When the teams met on Oct. 30, the Falcons won 33-32 when Ryan threw a late-game touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu. So yes, Rodgers and Green Bay can be beat (even if nobody has managed to do that lately).
— In the five regular-season meetings between the teams with Ryan and Rodgers as the respective quarterbacks, Ryan has won three of the five (although Ryan also lost to the Packers in a 2013 game at Lambeau Field when Green Bay started Matt Flynn).
— Rodgers has some staggering numbers against the Falcons (and almost everybody else): He has completed 129 of 185 passes (69.7 percent) for 1,626 yards, 13 touchdowns, only one interception and a 118 rating. But he won’t have nearly the supporting cast around him that Ryan will. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is expected to miss the game with broken ribs (although he says he hopes to play). Wide receiver Davante Adams rolled his ankle and left Sunday’s game at Dallas, but he later returned. (The biggest injury concern for the Falcons’ offense is Julio Jones, who aggravated a toe injury Saturday against Dallas, although coach Dan Quinn said he expects Jones will “be ready to rock” next week.)
— The Falcons have been held under 30 points just once in the last six home games. The only loss in that stretch came 29-28 to Kansas City on the infamous “pick two” thrown by Ryan. The result of the Falcons’ last six home games: 33-32 over Green Bay, 38-19 over Arizona, 29-28 loss to Kansas City, 41-13 over San Francisco, 38-32 over New Orleans and 36-20 over Seattle. That’s a Falcons’ scoring average of 35.7 points in the last six home games.
The Falcons have opened as a 5.5-point favorite at some sports books. Not surprisingly, a high-scoring game is projected, with the over/under set at 60.5 to 61 points (which roughly translates to a 33-28 final score).
So how are you feeling about this match-up?
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