*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Falcons went right down the field in cold Lambeau and took a 7-0 lead and I was kicking myself for thinking the Packers would rally off the coaching change and that dome/Southern Atlanta would be limited in the colder Midwest atmosphere.
Green Bay answered that score right back and went on a 34-point unanswered run to go up 34-7 into the 4th quarter and eventually won 34-20. The Packers just drubbed the Falcons, in large part due to the Packers defense. They have the 7th ranked pass defense and #4 in sacks…tied with Chicago and Denver. And it’s a defense that’s picking up momentum as the season goes on. This Packers team could have been so much better under different coaching…they have the QB and the defense to make a run, but they likely will not make the playoffs.
Also, note…an FFM’er sent me a clip of a press conference after Mike McCarthy was fired – where D-C Mike Pettine, the coach I have been wanting to be the head guy and have been blasting GB management for not naming him the interim, spoke eloquently and earnestly on not wanting to be a head coach. He talked about how he did not enjoy that side of coaching as much as he loved working with the details on defense – and it wasn’t lip service, Pettine is not that type of guy. So, apologies to GB for questioning them not naming Pettine as interim…he doesn’t want it, and to hear him speak it kinda confirms how nutty that head coaching job is/how unique a person it takes to do that gig. Great self-awareness by Pettine to admit, basically, it’s no fun and he has plenty of money from his last gigs to not go there for the sake of his family and mental health, etc.
The Packers are 5-7-1…with bleak hopes to win out and grab a wild card. Still possible. If they take down Chicago, at Chicago, they could pull it off. I wouldn’t put it past them. We still project a loss to the Bears and a 7-8-1 finish, but I would not be shocked if GB caught the Bears napping off the Rams event last week.
Atlanta has lost five in-a-row and falls to 4-9, on their way to a 4-5-6 win ‘who cares’ finish.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Austin Hooper (4-37-0/6) got hurt in this game…looked bad with an awkward landing on his leg but he hobbled off with help. He hasn’t practiced all week (as of this writing). He’s not likely to play this week.
Eric Saubert (2-15-0/3) was playing snaps before Hooper got hurt and then played a lot more after Hooper came off in the 2nd-half. Saubert was seeing some targets. He’s a semi-interesting Hail Mary TE play this week with Hooper out.
Saubert was a star at Drake…a WR/TE-ish type player, more TE than not. He looked better on tape than his NFL Combine (4.69 40-time, 7.3+ three-cone). He’s an average NFL athlete at TE but tends to play with an aggressive receiver’s mindset. He used to being involved in the passing game. He’s not terrible. He’s something considering he’ll be forced into his first start Week 15. Not a future star but future useful with some future hope he develops his aggressive nature.
-- Tevin Coleman (10-45-0, 1-0-0/1) and Ito Smith (11-60-0, 3-14-0/4) split snaps equally in this game. Ito with the better numbers.
You wouldn’t normally care but the Falcons face the weak run defense of Arizona this week. So…who do you go with?
The safe money says ‘Tevin’, but the gambler in me says this is an Ito event.
Tevin is getting ready to leave Atlanta in free agency, while Ito could use the work/confidence to be a part of the backfield split in 2019. This would be a game to give Ito a spurt…or thank Tevin for his service and let him pad numbers for free agency. Not sure which way they’ll go.
Dan Quinn could use some wins versus an 8 game losing streak to end the season, so I’d say Tevin as the lead (as usual) and then they ride the hot hand. Tevin probably makes sense here.
-- Aaron Rodgers (21-32 for 196 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) has now thrown for under 200 yards in a game in three of his last 5 games. Under 260 yards passing in five of his last 6 games. Facing Chicago this week? Not good.
His first two passes of the game were to Equanimous St. Brown (2-12-0/3), but then nothing after that. The throws were not great. Nor was his work to Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2-19-0/2) here or all season.
Why is it rookie WRs are rolling/showing big moments all over the league…even shaky guys like an Antonio Callaway or there is a DaeSean Hamilton looking good in his first start last week or whomever…but the great Aaron Rodgers has yet to be on the same page with his rookie WRs all season…it’s not getting any better? What’s up with that?
Michael Gallup improving with Dak…Robert Foster having huge games for the Bills…Anthony Miller has had moments for the Bears…Dante Pettis emerging with Nick Mullens – and, yet, ESB and MVS cannot get past 1-2 catches and 10-30 yards in a game playing all game with the great one? Something is wrong in Green Bay…QB or the rookie WRs, which is it? I’m not sure today.
-- FYI, new GB head coach…and Jamaal Williams (4-17-0, 0-0-0/1) started and was in for a bit before Aaron Jones (17-78-1, 3-28-0/3) came in and took over literally and figuratively.
I just thought it was odd. Must be what Aaron Rodgers wants?
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for these two teams…
ATL has a home/dome game with Arizona Week 15, which should be solid for output, especially the running game. They then go to Carolina for possibly a very meaningful game for the Panthers, but the Carolina defense is nothing special, so it should be fine for output. If you want to try and use ATL-DST against Arizona this week, it’s something. Atlanta doesn’t have a good defense, but Arizona has a terrible offense…you might get lucky.
Green Bay’s offense goes at CHI and at NYJ the next two weeks…not ideal conditions for a passing game already struggling. I don’t see the Rodgers breakout game on the horizon. Same old ‘everything to Adams’. Aaron Jones vs. CHI is a ‘no thank you’. The GB-DST at NYJ Week 16 is useful/I like it…if you want to sit on them ahead.
Snap Counts of Interest:
56 = Adams
44 = Cobb
34 = ESB
30 = MVS
06 = Kumerow
42 = A Jones
24 = J Williams
33 = Coleman
32 = Ito
09 = Brian Hill