New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers (-3, 58 o/u)
Even though this Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots (9-2, 3-2 away) at Green Bay Packers (8-3, 5-0 home) is being billed as Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers, there are plenty of other storylines surrounding the two top scoring teams in the NFL.
For instance, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is downplaying his team’s recent run of beating opponents by 20 or more points.
Belichick said, “It’s not realistic for us to expect to continue to blow teams out like that, or, I don’t want to say blow out, but win by a large margin. I can’t really put my finger on what it is. I think it’s a culmination of things and preparation, I think, is at the forefront of that.”
The Patriots are riding a seven-game winning streak thanks to Brady averaging 315.3 passing yards per game. “Tom Terrific” has 22 touchdown passes to just four picks in that stretch.
It’s no secret the Patriots’ success is tied to their offensive weapons, which include tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright. The latter had two touchdown catches last week, while the former was uncharacteristically quiet.
Wright said, “I would just say taking it one play at a time, not looking at the scoreboard, keeps the offense rolling. It all builds up at the end of the game when you look at the scoreboard at the points that we’re beating teams by.”
This week, the Pats will be looking in the mirror, so to speak, as they face a similar offensive juggernaut in the Packers. Green Bay has been nothing short of dominant at home, winning by an average margin of 26 points at Lambeau. Rodgers has been unstoppable – and untouchable – in his last two home games, throwing for more than 650 yards with 9 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
As far as weapons, Rodgers has receivers Jordy Nelson (who averages 123.2 receiving yards per home game) and Randall Cobb (who has caught 20 balls for more than 320 yards and two touchdowns in the last three at Lambeau).
Rodgers said, “Teams are going to take away what we do best, and what we’ve done best is get the ball to Jordy and Randall. They’ve had big statistical seasons so (opponents) try to take them out of the game.”
While the Packers-minus-3 isn’t necessarily a bad play, a better one – when considering that both teams have solid defenses and the temperature is going to be just 24 degrees – is taking the under (58).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Tom Brady) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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