Network Notebook: Packers/Falcons Huge in NFC Picture

WE'LL LEARN A LOT ABOUT THE NFC RACE IN SUNDAY'S GREEN BAY/ATLANTA SHOWDOWN

A week ago at this time, we talked about how the best four teams in the NFC were matched up to play each other head-to-head right out of the gate. We gained a lot of insight from those games...and will now be treated to another huge matchup featuring the defending conference champs against the current market favorite.

First, a review of last week. You'll recall these were the Super Bowl odds for teams playing in the big TV games...

Seattle (8/1) at Green Bay (8/1)
NY Giants (12/1) at Dallas (12/1)

Green Bay only beat Seattle 17-9, but crushed them in the statistics. Dallas crushed the Giants so bad every which way that the Giants have largely fallen out of championship talk already. Here's a look at consensus championship prices for the top five teams in the NFC heading into this new week.

Green Bay 8/1
Seattle 9/1
Dallas 11/1
Atlanta 14/1
NY Giants 25/1

Green Bay moved to the top. Seattle probably should have fallen further than they did due their offensive line troubles. Too many people are responding to the final score and not the stats. Dallas looked so sharp that it might be time to take them more seriously. Atlanta won at Chicago, but very easily could have lost that game. The market still doesn't trust that defense...even though that defense made it all the way to the big game before blowing a 28-3 lead.

The Giants? They're not out of it yet...but if they lose to the Lions this coming Monday Night they might fall all the way to 40/1. They didn't even look like a .500 caliber team last week, let alone a threat to win a division.

The big game late Sunday afternoon this week is Green Bay at Atlanta on FOX. Let's quickly review some key stats from Week One action.

TOTAL YARDS
Atlanta 372, Chicago 301
Green Bay 370, Seattle 225

Clear dominance for both teams...though being 145 yards better than Seattle is a lot more impressive than being 71 yards better than Chicago, even accounting for the road/home split.

YARDS-PER-PLAY
Atlanta 6.8, Chicago 4.8
Green Bay 5.0, Seattle 4.7

This is where Atlanta looked much more like a Super Bowl threat again. That's a big edge for a road team, no matter who the opponent. Even better, Atlanta did that while not turning the ball over a single time. Green Bay was in a real grinder with Seattle, using a time-of-possession edge to create that big total yardage advantage. The Packers threw one interception.

WHAT'S IT MEAN FOR THIS WEEK?
You have to assume Green Bay is going to be able to move the ball and score on Atlanta's defense. Aaron Rodgers and company are a lot better offensively than Chicago...and Chicago almost stole a win last week even with just 301 yards and 4.8 yards-per-play. Rodgers knows how to finish drives. We don't know yet if Green Bay's defense is for real...or was just exploiting the same offensive line woes that stalled Seattle last season.

These teams met in the playoffs last season. Atlanta jumped to a 24-0 halftime lead on the way to a 44-21 laugher. How much has changed since then? It was only two games ago for Green Bay, and three for the Falcons. Atlanta gained almost 500 yards, converting 10 of 13 third down tries. It's very possible for Green Bay's defense to overmatch Seattle...but then remain overmatched by Atlanta (granting that this Packers unit is healthier than the playoff loser was).

It's important to note that while the game was in the same city, it isn't on the same field. Atlanta will be unveiling its new state-of-the-art stadium. Will they have the same home field advantage as in the past when just starting out in a brand new environment?

JIM HURLEY and his full team of experts will cover this game...and every game all weekend...from every possible angle. NETWORK doesn't force plays in big TV games...but isn't afraid to make a stand when the edges are there. We know nothing is more fun than watching yourself make a fortune on TV!

You can purchase the rest of our top college and pro football plays this weekend right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 to take care of business. Don't forget to ask about combination packages with Major League Baseball. Some big matchups this weekend (like Dodgers/Nats, Cardinals/Cubs, and Royals/Indians as Cleveland tries to extend its historic streak). The more you win in September, the more those winnings roll over through the rest of the year!

Back with you Monday to preview a big college football game for Week 4. That's probably going to be #20 TCU at #9 Oklahoma State. But, developments between now and then could launch another matchup into "game of the week" status.

Enjoy all the action through this exciting sports weekend. You know it will be even more fun with a bunch of BIG, JUICY WINNERS from WINNER JIM HURLEY!

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