- Davante Adams, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley were all on the injury report this week and are all uncertain to play. Allen Lazard is expected to be out.
On paper, Monday Night Football looks like an absolute shootout. Through three weeks, the Packers have scored more points than any team in the NFL, while no team has allowed more than the Falcons. The Falcons have themselves scored the sixth most points in the league, while the Packers’ defense ranks 12th in points allowed. Both teams have been playing high-scoring contests week in and week out, leading to a massive 56.5 total.
But there are a lot of reasons to wonder if those trends will continue. For starters, this will be a night game played outdoors at Lambeau Field. The Falcons have played three climate-controlled games thus far, two at home and one in Dallas. Green Bay has played indoors at Minnesota and at New Orleans, hosting the Lions at home in Week 2. Current forecasts have a nice night in Green Bay on Monday, but with the potential for a little bit of wind over 10 miles per hour. That’s not a major hindrance, but it’s a different atmosphere than these teams have played in for most of their contests to date.
Then there are the wide receiver injuries. Each team’s top two wide receivers are banged up. The big names — Davante Adams for Green Bay and Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley for Atlanta — are all questionable. Allen Lazard, who had a big Week 3 with Adams sidelined, is likely out for the Packers.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said Saturday that Adams will be a game-time decision, while Falcons coach Dan Quinn intimated Jones and Ridley were trending upward. Even if the top names are able to gut it out, it’s hard to imagine the passing games not being hampered when both teams’ top two wide receivers will either be out or operating at less than 100%.
That might make this more of a ground game than what we’ve seen from these offenses so far. The Packers have an electric running back in Aaron Jones, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them run their offense through him. The Falcons have to be a little concerned by the lack of burst Todd Gurley has shown thus far in 2020, but Green Bay’s defense ranks 29th in success rate allowed on rushing plays, while they rank much better at 19th against the pass. This would seem to be an opportunity to try to get Gurley or one of his backups like Brian Hill going a little bit.
Ultimately, with a game total as high as 56.5, it doesn’t take much for the under to hit. For two teams who have been lighting up scoreboards through three weeks mostly in climate-controlled stadiums, an outdoor atmosphere, injuries, and matchups all push them toward more conservative gameplans. The value’s on the under.
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NFL Expert Picks
PICK: Under 56.5 @ -110
NFL Free Picks
We enter the fourth week of the NFL season with a blockbuster week featuring some enticing games. OddsChecker's crack team of handicappers, Ben Rolfe, Davis Mattek and Ben Gretch will be covering the very best games, including all of the primetime games.