When the NFL schedule was announced months ago, the one that stuck out the most was the Falcons vs. Patriots on Sunday Night Football. That day has arrived, as the Patriots welcome the Falcons to Gillette Stadium for a meeting on Sunday night. It’s of course the first time they’ve met since the Super Bowl, a game in which the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead. You can never doubt Tom Brady, but he got some help along the way with terrible play calling by the Falcons.
The Falcons didn’t want to take the ball out of the hands of Matt Ryan, and it ended up costing them dearly. In what was an instance where the Falcons should have chewed up clock on the ground, they left the door open for the Patriots. Notably, that one series that took them out of field goal range, and we all know what happened from there.
There is no doubt that the Falcons and Patriots have entered the 2017 season with plenty of fanfare. As per usual, the Pats are Super Bowl favorites, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing for them thus far. People want to get on their backs, but has any team really stood out on the field?
It felt like just yesterday that the Chiefs were undefeated, but now they have two losses on their resume, just like that. The Patriots are 4-2 and are still a viable option to go back to the Super Bowl and repeat. This is a team who had some undefeated talk going around in the summer, so to lose two games by Week 7, they were bound to take some heat.
The Patriots have also looked sloppy in wins. They had to claw back against the Texans at home, getting a game winning drive from Brady to take a 36-33 win. This isn’t any fault of his own or the offense. The defense has been horrendous for the Patriots, as they will continue to work with a patchwork unit on Sunday night. Cornerbacks Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore will be out, once again testing the depth in the Patriots’ secondary. Tom Brady may have to orchestrate a brilliant performance again in Week 7. Head below for our free Falcons vs. Patriots pick on SNF.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots Betting Odds:
vs. Patriots -3(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons vs. Patriots Pick:
It was back in August that I first identified the Patriots’ defense having issues. It was only a preseason game against the Patriots, but the starters were getting gashed by the Lions. At the time, I chalked it up as just a preseason game, but the same defense has carried over into the regular season. Outside of New England, the retirement of linebacker Rob Ninkovich largely went unnoticed.
However, his void in the middle of the field is having a large impact in the passing and running game. The Pats are dead last in yardage allowed per game, 440.7 yards. They are especially getting exploited through the air, where they have given up 324.8 passing yards per game. That is over 20 yards worse than the 31st Buccaneers.
The Patriots gave up more than 17 points last week, well, depending how you look at it. On a controversial call, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins bobbled and fumbled the ball into the end zone, resulting in a reversal and no touchdown for the Jets. It went from a touchdown to a touchback just like that. There was a bobble, but it’s a hard one to overturn, in my opinion.
Atlanta have scored just 17 points in each of their last two games. Although, the Falcons will have Mohamad Sanu back in the lineup, an often overlooked target for Matt Ryan. He is the guy who forces the defense not to shove all of their chips in on Julio Jones. No Sanu means the defense can just shift over and focus on Jones, that’s not as easy to do with Sanu in the lineup. I expect Matt Ryan and the Falcon offense to wake up tonight at Gillette.
Another guy returning this week who may be undervalued is Rex Burkhead of the Patriots. Look for Belichick to use him in multiple formations, utilizing him more so in the passing game rather than a traditional running back. He may not put up monster numbers, but he’s going to allow the Patriots’ offense to make the Falcons have to look at different formations and personnel. I took this at 54, but still like a pack on the OVER at 56.5. 34-27 or 31-28 for somebody on Sunday Night Football.
PICK: OVER 56.5 (-110)