Each week throughout the 2023 NFL Season, coach Kevin Kelley will give a coach’s perspective and provide analysis for a few games against the spread.
I toggled back and forth last week over making my second pick in the main part of this column the Jags or the Cowboys.
I went Cowboys in the main part and Jags in the “Chick-fil-A money picks” add on at the end.
I can’t remember being more wrong.
I went 1-1 in both sections and am ready to tackle Week 2.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers Spread Prediction:
Look for the Atlanta Falcons to cover the spread as a home favorite of –1.5.
Why I like the Falcons to cover the spread vs the Packers in Week 2:
As my friend Coach Belichick would say, on to Week 2.
One of the main things that sets a line in baseball is starting pitchers. In football, you can bet the quarterback play is one of the most important factors.
In this column, I am going to start showcasing a metric I have been using for a few years. If I had used it exclusively after Week 7, I would have a good enough winning percentage ATS to make a living. (I wouldn’t, of course, because of the uncertainty in it, but it would be fun).
That metric I love is basically quarterback accuracy with some assumptions.
The first game that stood out, and I know it’s not after Week 7 yet but we can still use this as one of our tools, is that Jordan Love, although they did a nice job calling plays and putting him into comfortable situations, was No. 28 out of 32 quarterbacks in accuracy last week.
His yards per attempt were great, but his completion percentage was 55.6, and he was aided by 2 passes to Aaron Jones on short throws that went for 86 yards and a touchdown. That will not happen very often and inflated those numbers. The No. 28 spot on accuracy is the one that will get you beat unless things go your way.
Green Bay’s rushing attack was subpar with 32 rushes for 92 yards (2.88 YPC). Outside that, an interception return for a TD that unfortunately you can’t get each week because Justin Fields only plays for the Bears helped them look better on offense and scoring than they really were.
Defensively, they gave up 311 yards (only 18 fewer than they created on offense) to a very bad team which had one of their receivers, Chase Claypool, that was actually pointed out on several media outlets to not even be trying hard while he was playing. They did sack Fields four times, but that is as much his fault as it is good play by the Packer defense.
The Falcons and Desmond Ridder were not exactly the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa as Ridder threw for only 115 yards. The good part was he was 15 of 18 and the rushing attack carried the load with 26 carries for 130 yards led by Tyler Allgeier, who I like as a running back. He is not flashy, but just rock solid.
But what the Falcons had to see that game was the superstar status they have in Bijan Robinson. He had 10 carries for 56 yards and caught 6 passes for 27 yards. The TD catch was a highlight reel of its own. And he made more people miss tackles on 10 carries than any other back in the league regardless of how many times they carried the ball.
PLEASE, get him the ball more and I’ll watch this team with more enthusiasm.
Sadly, their quarterback caught more passes than their best receiver Drake London and half as many as their tight end Kyle Pitts. I hate playing the “due” game, but one has to believe that both guys and Robinson ramp up their production.
I am not a big Ridder fan, but he did finish No. 12 on the week in my accuracy metric. If he can keep doing that and they get the ball just a little more to Robinson, those Atlanta Falcons will start this season off 2-0.