Atlanta Falcons Will Be Facing a Ripe Packers Team

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This Feels Like the Infamous Trap Game

Dec 8, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) walks off the field after the Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

I will start with the least data-driven reason: the psychological quirk known as the “trap game.”  Green Bay just came off a stirring victory over league powerhouse New England Patriots that was as hyped as any regular season game this season.  Needless to say the cheeseheads from Wisconsin are feeling fairly high on themselves right now.

In contrast, the Atlanta Falcons are widely derided as a flat-out joke by many national pundits regardless of their recent record.  If you truly believe Packers players live in a vacuum, completely ignore media headlines aggrandizing their successes, and can’t develop an over-confident mentality against their widely regarded over-matched opponent, I have some choice ocean-front property in Wisconsin to sell you.

“If Green Bay doesn’t torch (the Falcons) for 40, I’ll be shocked.”- Anonymous NFL Personnel Director

An anonymous NFL personnel director stated earlier this week that “If Green Bay doesn’t torch [the Falcons] for 40, I’ll be shocked.”  Don’t believe for a second that this sentiment isn’t widely shared among many throughout the Packer locker room.  It’s only human nature to at least subconsciously believe in their hyped-up air of superiority after besting a top-tier Patriots team and then subsequently preparing to take on a 5-7 team as 12.5-point favorites.

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As I said before this is the weakest reason for an Atlanta upset, but never discount the overconfidence of a bunch of  young alpha dog athletes feeling unbeatable and on top of the NFL world.  There are few Packers with true doubts about this game being anything other than a cake-walk.  I guarantee many of them are busier planning how to show out for friends and family on Monday night national TV than they are studying their game plan assignments.

This sets up a wonderful situation for the hungry and recently confident Birds of A-town.  It’s exactly the atmosphere that will allow the completely discounted Falcons to don the underdog cloak, take on the surprisingly effective “us-versus-the-world” bunker mentality, and play completely free of pressure with nothing to lose.  With no expectations to even be competitive, I fully anticipate very aggressive play-calling throughout from Atlanta’s coaching staff to catch the self-assured Packers napping and unawares – especially at the outset.  Don’t be surprised if you see some trick plays early in the game, especially on special teams.