SPORTS

NFL playoffs – NFC championship game betting preview

TAGs: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, NFL

Oddsmakers believe Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the fourth-seeded Green Bay Packers (12-6) and second-seeded Atlanta Falcons (12-5) will be the highest-scoring in NFL history, setting a record total of 61 that has already risen to 61.5 and could close even higher before kickoff.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

The Falcons are listed as four-point home favorites and may look to prevent that scenario from happening though in an effort to cool off the red-hot Packers and earn their second Super Bowl appearance ever.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP, has been a man on fire over the past nine weeks, throwing 24 touchdown passes and only one interception during that stretch. His counterpart Matt Ryan – the favorite to win league MVP honors for the first time this year – has thrown 22 touchdowns and three picks in his last nine games, which is nearly as good.

NFL playoffs – NFC championship game betting previewPut Rodgers and Ryan together, and it is no wonder the total on this year’s NFC Championship Game is so high, especially when you consider that the last two meetings between them have averaged 72.5 points.

Offensively, Atlanta would be smart to rely more on its strong running game with Devonta Freeman (1,079 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns) and Tevin Coleman (520 and eight) arguably the best two-back tandem in the NFL.

Keeping Rodgers off the field and limiting the number of possessions for both teams will be imperative for the chances of the Falcons making it to Houston for Super Bowl LI.

The Packers were led on the ground by converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery and his 457 rushing yards while Rodgers was second on the team with 369, nine more than Eddie Lacy.

Lacy’s season-ending ankle injury that has kept him off the field since Green Bay’s 30-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 of the regular season only made Rodgers work harder, as the signal-caller was the difference along with kicker Mason Crosby in helping win the rematch with Dallas 34-31 as five-point road underdogs last week for their eighth consecutive victory.

Rodgers and Crosby will need to make even more big plays at Atlanta if they are going to win for the fifth time in six meetings and see the visiting team improve to 11-1 against the spread in the series dating back to 2002.

Last year, the Carolina Panthers routed the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the third-highest scoring NFC Championship Game ever. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Cowboys 38-28 in the highest-scoring NFC Championship Game back in 1995.

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