In the second of two Monday night matchups in Week 5, we have the Green Bay Packers taking on the Atlanta Falcons. This Monday Night Football contest was pushed back to accommodate the early game being played by the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.
Green Bay is off to a 3-0 start to the season behind smoking-hot starts from Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones, while the Falcons are sputtering at 0-3 and coming off back-to-back horrific losses in which they blew double-digit second-half leads. All eight of our CBS Sports experts have the Packers winning this game. William Hill Sportsbook, though, has the line currently set at Packers -7.5 and our panel is split 4-4 as to who will cover the number. Before we break down this game any further, here’s how you can follow all the action.
How to watch
It’s difficult to imagine the Falcons defense stopping what looks like a pretty potent Green Bay offense — even if Davante Adams spends another game on the sideline. Aaron Rodgers is more locked in than he has been in years. The offensive line is giving him excellent protection. Aaron Jones is running over, around, and through every defender in sight. Atlanta’s secondary hasn’t shown it can cover anybody, so it might not matter that Rodgers could conceivably be working with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Russell Shepherd, and Equanimeous St. Brown as his top wide receivers.
However, it’s also difficult to imagine the Packers defense stopping what looks like a pretty potent Atlanta offense — even if Julio Jones spends another game on the sideline. Calvin Ridley, who like Jones is questionable to play, is emerging as a true No. 1 wideout himself. Russell Gage is off to an excellent start in the slot, and the Falcons also have Hayden Hurst to find holes in zones in the middle of the field. Todd Gurley has been running in mud for much of the young season but Brian Hill has showed some explosiveness backing him up, particularly last week. Green Bay’s defense is off to a surprisingly slow start to the season, ranking 27th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
In the end, this game comes down to which team you trust more. Is it the one with Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Jaire Alexander, Matt LaFleur, and Mike Pettine. Or is it the one coached by Dan Quinn that keeps blowing fourth quarter leads and can’t get any stops? I think you see where this is going …
I wasn’t all that high on the Packers coming into the season, largely for the same reasons other people weren’t that high on them. They seemed to be screaming regression, they were planning to run the ball more often, we hadn’t seen peak Aaron Rodgers in years, etc. But I was also pretty low on the Falcons, and they have performed below even my expectations. I’ll take Rodgers here.
Score: Green Bay 33, Atlanta 23