The Pack are the hottest team in football, coming in with with a four-game winning streak (3-1 against the spread) and are tabbed as 13-point home favorites.
In order to get an inside look into this matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers Dave Choate of Falcons blog The Falcoholic and Jason Hirschhorn of Packers blog Acme Packing Company strap on the pads and debate which team not only wins Monday night, but who covers the spread.
WHY ATLANTA WILL COVER
Dave Choate is the editor-in-chief at The Falcoholic. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @TheFalcoholic.
The Julio Jones factor
The Packers have a decent secondary, but Jones just destroyed one of the league’s better cornerbacks a week ago, and remains one of the NFL’s most dangerous wide receivers. There’s no question that he’ll have his opportunities in this game, and if he can take advantage, he’ll be able to put the Packers back on their heels.
The Falcons are on a turnover run
In the last six weeks, the Falcons have racked up 11 interceptions. This isn’t a great or even good defense across the board, but they have a deceptively strong secondary and can really wreak havoc when the ball is coming their way, particularly cornerback Desmond Trufant and safety William Moore.
This team is fighting for its life
After weeks and weeks of anemic performances, something seemed to click for the Falcons last week against the Cardinals. That might be due to the dawning realization that they’re in the playoff hunt and every game matters, and I expect they’ll have maximum effort dialed up against the Packers this week.
WHY GREEN BAY WILL COVER
Jason B. Hirschhorn writes for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog for SB Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @jbhirschhorn.
Aaron Rodgers vs. the Falcons secondary
Last Sunday, Aaron Rodgers picked apart the New England Patriots, owners of one of the best secondaries in the league. When the Patriots took away top receiver Jordy Nelson, Rodgers connected with Davante Adams for multiple deep throws. When New England adjusted to limit Adams, Rodgers responded with a 45-yard touchdown throw to Nelson. For whatever the Atlanta Falcons can throw at Green Bay, Rodgers will have a counter move. In a league filled with great quarterbacks, no one is playing the position better right now.
Green Bay’s improved pass rush
In recent years, the Packers’ pass rush would disappear at times when Clay Matthews suffered an injury or the opposing team managed to schemed him out of the game. That hasn’t been a problem in 2014 with the arrival of Julius Peppers and the emergence of Mike Daniels. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers now has the pieces to get more creative with his play calls, a luxury he hasn’t had since the team’s Super Bowl run four seasons ago.
The Lambeau effect
The Packers aren’t the only undefeated team at home this season, but their performance there is second to none. Three of the team’s six home games were won by 32 points or more. Not coincidentally, Rodgers has not thrown an interception at Lambeau Field since the 2012 season. The weather report calls for low-20 degrees with a chance of snow. That’s bad news for the dome-acclimated team such as Atlanta.
Join the debate! Who covers on Monday night: Falcons or Packers?