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Packers vs. Falcons 2016 picks and predictions: Experts split over tough NFC matchup

Expect a shootout between two high-powered NFC offenses.

The Atlanta Falcons suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss last week to the Chargers, but they face an opportunity to earn a big win against the Green Bay Packers this week. The Falcons enter Sunday with a 4-3 record, while the Packers come in at 4-2.

The Falcons’ defense, which has allowed the seventh-most yards per game to opposing teams, will likely have a tough time stopping the Packers’ offense. Aaron Rodgers threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears in a 26-10 win in Week 7. The Packers may finally be ready to provide the high-powered passing game output that has been a hallmark of their team the past few years after starting slow this season.

The Packers’ offense seemed to round into form last week, but it remains to be seen whether that output can be duplicated Sunday in Atlanta. Davante Adams caught a career-high 13 passes for 132 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 7, Randall Cobb had 116 total yards and a touchdown, and Ty Montgomery, filling in at running back in addition to his regular wide receiver duties, had 126 total yards.

Atlanta may need to make this game a shootout in order to win it, given the advantage Green Bay has over the defense. Fortunately for the Falcons, their offense ranks first in the league in both points and yards per game. Wide receiver Julio Jones will look to torch the Falcons defense just like he has toasted the rest of the league, as the star wideout has 830 receiving yards, tops in the NFL this season. Quarterback Matt Ryan also leads the NFL in passing yards, having thrown for over 2,300 yards already this season.

Devonta Freeman will handle the load for the Falcons at running back assuming his stablemate Tevin Coleman sits out with a hamstring strain. The Packers defense happens to be the best in the league at preventing the run, meaning that the Falcons may look to throw more often, providing the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones connection another chance to run wild.

The expert pickers seem to be split on the results of this one. ESPN’s predictors favor the Falcons by a margin of 7-2, while CBS Sports’ prognosticators went for the Packers 5-3.

Here at SB Nation, there is an overall 5-5 split. Our human pickers favored the Packers slightly, but the OddsShark computer favors the Falcons.

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Tyler Tynes Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark computer