The Falcons have one of their two primetime matchups scheduled for Week 4, as they travel to Lambeau to take on the Green Bay Packers. Matt Ryan has had a lot of success against Aaron Rodgers over the last five years, but all of his wins have come at home. Playing against Rodgers at Lambeau is a different story. The Falcons haven’t won at Green Bay since 2008 when they squeaked out a 27-24 victory in Matt Ryan’s rookie season. Since, Atlanta has lost three straight at Lambeau, with their most recent loss coming in 2018 by a score of 34-20.
Chase Irle’s Prediction
Going to Lambeau and picking up a victory has been one of the toughest things to do over the last 20 or so years. However, it’s much easier to accomplish earlier in the year than later, so I’m glad this game is taking place in early October.
The Packers may have finished last season 13-3, but they never had the feel of a team that was that dominant. They won a lot of close games and eventually were blown out by the 49ers in the NFC Championship. And instead of bolstering their roster for their final few years of Aaron Rodgers’ career, they drafted Jordan Love in the first round and a bunch of pieces that won’t help their passing game. The Packers are now a run-first team under Matt LaFleur, and I don’t imagine Rodgers is too happy about it. I could see them imploding sooner rather than later, but this will still be ultra-challenging for the Falcons to pull out a win.
Typically, the matchups between these two teams have turned into shootouts, but I don’t see that this time around. While the Packers offense has changed to a run-first style, scoring fewer points, their defense has begun to turn the corner. I imagine that will create some trouble for Matt Ryan, especially if it is a cold-weather game, where he has traditionally struggled. The Falcons will stay competitive, unlike their last matchup, and it could come down to a last-second field goal, but I can’t give them the edge, given their track record in Green Bay.
Packers 24, Falcons 20
Jake Gordon’s Prediction
The most fraudulent 13-3 team in NFL history was notably exposed by the Niners in the NFC Championship last season. Aaron Rodgers is not who he used to be, and probably still has nightmares of what the Falcons did to him in the 2016 playoffs. However, these aren’t the 2016 Falcons, but I don’t see Green Bay as much of contender either. What they are is a team with a smart coach and a stout run game. That will give Atlanta some issues. The 2016 Packers didn’t have Matt LaFleur (Atlanta did), Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, or Darnell Savage, and Kenny Clark was only a rookie. Green Bay’s defense and pass rush is much improved. Atlanta receives their first loss at Lambeau in a heartbreaker.
Packers 31, Falcons 30