As the Green Bay Packers (4-7-1) prepare to host the Atlanta Falcons (4-8) it’s time to get ready for kick with Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts.’
#1 Philbin takes over: Interim coach Joe Philbin takes over after Mike McCarthy was fired following last week’s Packers loss to the lowly Cardinals. Philbin will also take over play-calling duties, doing so for the first time in 22 years (his last job calling plays was at Northeastern in 1996).
#2 Double Disappointment: With only 4 wins each, If you added the Packers and Falcons win totals together you would get the expected with totals for each individually at this point in the season. As it is, both have suffered lost seasons. Bragging rights and righting the ship to finish strong with pride is the goal for both squads.
#3 Playoff Hopes?: The season is all-but-lost, but, believe it or not, the Packers are not dead yet in the playoff race. Even if Green Bay loses to the Falcons, the Packers would not be eliminated unless both Washington and Philadelphia win this weekend. A Packers loss would really put things on life-support though.
To make the playoffs winning out, the Packers would need 10 other games to go their way. The scenario is listed below:
-Tampa Bay must lose 1 game (SCHEDULE: NOLA, @BAL, @DAL, ATL)
-Washington must lose 2 games (SCHEDULE: NYG, @JAX, @TEN, PHI)
-Philadelphia must lose 2 games (SCHEDULE: @DAL, @LAR, HOU, @WASH)
-Carolina must lose 2 games (SCHEDULE: @CLE, NOLA, ATL, @NOLA)
-PLUS Minnesota or Seattle must lose 3 of their final 4 games
#4 Best Receivers Around: The Falcons’ Julio Jones (1,323) leads the NFL in receiving yards while the Packers’ Davante Adams (1,115) ranks 3rd. Jones’ 86 catches are 4th best, Adams’ 85 are 5th.
The stats don’t lie. The eye test also shows that these are two of the best receivers in the entire NFL. Adams is having perhaps the greatest pass-catching season in Packers franchise history. He is on pace to surpass Sterling Sharp’s 25-year old record for catches in a season and needs 101 yards per game over the final four weeks to break Jordy Nelson’s single-season yardage record.
#5 Matthews Family Reunion: Packers OLB Clay Matthews will battle his cousin, Falcons OL Jake Matthews for the 4th time head-to-head. The home combatant has won the prior three showdowns. This week, Clay said his uncle (HOF’er Bruce Matthews) won’t be welcome in the Matthews family suite at Lambeau after cheering too loudly in 2014 when Atlanta was trying to stage a comeback. It was hard to tell if he was kidding or not.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Packers 23
As always, tune in to Action 2 News at 5:30 and 10:00 pm Sunday for postgame coverage and don’t miss Sunday Sports Night Cover 2 at 10:35 pm. Rookie CB Josh Jackson will join Chris Roth in studio to help break down the game.