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The Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons will be trying to stave off mathematical elimination from playoff contention when they clash at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Sunday afternoon. Atlanta has dropped four in a row to Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans, and Baltimore. The Packers are just a half-game better at 4-7-1 while losing three straight against Seattle, Minnesota, and Arizona.
Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones returned last weekend for the first time since suffering a foot injury in the season opener against Philadelphia. Jones wasted no time getting right back in business, leading his team with 15 total tackles (one for loss) during a 26-16 loss to Baltimore. The former LSU standout, who also recorded a sack, finished with eight more solo tackles than his next-highest teammate (Foye Oluokun).
"Let's take the lessons and put the things that have hurt us in the past behind us and make sure we apply those lessons." – Dan Quinn on moving forward pic.twitter.com/WKpCYuo9LA
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 6, 2018
“It was good,” Jones said. “It was fun, I had fun running around.”
“It was good having him back out there–hear his voice back there,” defensive tackle Grady Jarrett assured. “Just seeing him get ready for the game, all the work that he put in to fight to get back in it, no matter where we were at. His plan was always to come back and fight with us and that doesn’t go unnoticed and we missed him.”
Overall it was a solid performance by Atlanta’s defense, as one of Baltimore’s scores came on a fumble return following a strip-sack of quarterback Matt Ryan. Linebacker Vic Beasley also scored for the Falcons, returning a fumble by Lamar Jackson 74 yards to the endzone. The Ravens passed for just 159 yards out of their 366 total.
Change at the top
Green Bay started the season well enough, with a comeback victory over Chicago and a tie against Minnesota. The Packers were still a decent 3-2-1 through six weeks, albeit featuring additional wins over Buffalo and San Francisco. Things went from mediocre to bad in a hurry as the schedule became more difficult (losses to the Rams and Patriots, among others), and things hit rock bottom against a weak opponent in Week 13. That is when Green Bay fell at home to Arizona 20-17.
The Packers’ third straight loss and their fifth in the last six contests proved to be too much for head coach Mike McCarthy to survive. The longtime Green Bay boss got the boot immediately thereafter and was replaced with former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Philbin initially joined the Packers in 2003 and was retained as offensive line coach when McCarthy was hired in 2006. He spent the next five seasons as offensive coordinator before leaving for Miami following the 2011 campaign. Philbin–who returned to Green Bay as offensive coordinator this season–will call plays the rest of the way, something he did not do with the Dolphins.
“I care about this organization, I love this organization, and this is the role that I’m in right now,” Philbin said of dialing up plays for the offense. “I’m going to do the role to the best of my ability.
“It’s been tough,” he assured. “I haven’t slept very much. You come back here and you want to be part of the solution. You want to help a guy (McCarthy) that’s been a great man, he’s been a great coach, been a friend, and you feel like you let him down.”
The Green Bay Packers are:
- 1-3-1 ATS in their last five overall
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games against the NFC
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games against teams with losing records
The Atlanta Falcons are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five Week 14 games
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Green Bay
- 4-0 Over in their last four games against Green Bay
Updated on Dec 9 at 1:05am EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Packers have gone from -4 to -4.5 and they have gotten 61% of the bets. Som sharp money may be on the side of the Packers. The Change at the top could be affecting that.
Injury / Weather Report
No Weather Issues Expected
Atlanta’s Impact Injury Report
TE Logan Paulsen (92 Yards, One TD) is out.
Starting Kicker Matt Bryant is questionable
Green Bay’s Impact Injury Report
OT Bryan Bulaga (12 Starts) is Doubtful
OG Byron Bell (Nine Starts), Long Snapper Hunter Bradley (12 Games), and OG Lane Taylor (12 Starts) are all questionable
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Philbin has a lot of work to do if he wants to successfully turn around Green Bay’s offense. The Packers have scored exactly 17 points in each of their last two games, with Rodgers throwing just a single touchdown on each occasion. He has reached the 300-yard mark only once in the last six outings. Jones’ return for Atlanta will likely continue the woes of Rodgers and company. The Falcons are 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head matchups and 5-0 ATS in their last five trips to Green Bay. Getting more than a field goal should be enough for Atlanta to cover in a showdown between two disinterested teams.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons
Full-Game Total Pick
Although it will naturally be cold at Lambeau Field in December, the forecast calls for sunny skies and no signs of any snow–which certainly has happened this time of year in the Frozen Tundra. Decent conditions will help the offensive attacks. Moreover, these are two of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL (Atlanta is 27th in that department and Green Bay is not much better at No. 25). The over is 6-0-1 in the Falcons’ last seven after passing for less than 150 yards in their previous outing. It is also 21-7 in the Packers’ last 28 against the NFC, 12-3 in their last 15 against losing opponents, and 7-2 in their last nine December contests. Additionally, the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to go over the total.