Falcons-Packers Monday Night Football Odds Report

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 1:32 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 1:32 PM GMT

One month from now, we could see the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs, and the Green Bay Packers on the outside looking in. But for Monday night at least, the NFL odds are firmly in Green Bay’s favor.

Jason’s record after Week 12: 32-44-1 ATS, 14-20-1 Totals
Nobody said the NFL was fair – especially these days. Every once in a while, a mediocre team is going to win its division and get an automatic berth in the playoffs, at the expense of someone better. This figures to be one of those years. The Atlanta Falcons (5-7 SU and ATS) are on top of the NFC South, for the moment at least. The Green Bay Packers (9-3 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) lead the NFC North, as well, but there are three Wild Card hopefuls at 8-4 who are just waiting for someone to slip up.

Chances are it won’t be the Packers this Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). They opened as 10.5-point home favorites for their matchup against Atlanta, and with early bettors pounding Green Bay at a 2:1 ratio, the NFL odds have already moved the spread to 11.5 points as we go to press. How chalky can this line get? And will it stop anyone from unloading on the Packers?

 

We’re No. 3
There’s a lot of buzz right now about the Packers possibly being the best team in the league, and it’s hard to argue after they beat the New England Patriots (+2.5 away) 26-21 last Sunday. But it’s a pointless argument to make, anyway. The only thing anyone can say for sure is that Green Bay has been playing some excellent football this year.

We’ve even got some numbers to back it up. Over at Pro Football Reference, they’ve got Green Bay on top of the NFC with a plus-12.6 SRS; only the Patriots (plus-15.1 SRS) and the Denver Broncos (plus-12.7 SRS) score higher using that advanced metric. Football Outsiders also had the Packers ranked No. 3 overall (No. 2 offense, No. 12 defense, No. 15 special teams) in efficiency heading into Week 13, behind the Broncos and Patriots.

We should point out again that these numbers are for the full season up until now. People have already forgotten that the Packers started the year at 2-2 SU and 1-2-1 ATS, losing a pair of tough road games to the Seattle Seahawks (–4.5) and the Detroit Lions (–1). Since then, Green Bay is 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS. The only loss was another difficult away assignment, versus the New Orleans Saints (–2) at the Superdome.

 

Help Wanted: Baker
That result could be the difference-maker in the NFC South. The Falcons are tied with the Saints as we head into Week 14, although Atlanta holds the tiebreaker for the moment after beating New Orleans (–3 away) 37-34 in overtime to start the season. It was an electric start for the Falcons, who seemed poised for a comeback after falling apart last year at 4-12 SU and 7-9 ATS.

There was a fly in the ointment, though. Before their 2014 campaign even got underway, the Falcons lost LT Sam Baker for the year with a torn patellar tendon. Then back-up RT Mike Johnson was put on IR with a Lisfranc injury during the preseason. Within the first month of regular action, they were joined by center Joe Hawley (knee) and RT Lamar Holmes (foot). But wait, there’s more: Center Peter Konz was put on IR in late October after tearing his ACL.

And yet Atlanta’s offense kept producing. It’s actually the Falcons defense that’s been their undoing; through Week 12, it was the least efficient defense in the league according to the DVOA charts, where Atlanta ranked No. 20 overall (No. 12 offense, No. 32 defense, No. 8 special teams). Crunch the numbers, and the Falcons come out with a minus-0.5 SRS, which suggests they should be getting about 17 points at Lambeau. You can pretty much guess who our official NFL pick will be for this matchup when we return later in the week.

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