I don’t know about you guys, but this is the game that I’m most excited for on Sunday. The New England Patriots, albeit the shorthanded Patriots, will enter the Georgia Dome for an exciting Sunday night game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots and Falcons are two of the best that the NFL has to offer. Neither is coming in at full strength, but this game will still play an important role down the stretch with playoff implications. I think this one will be an entertaining affair as well, so be sure to tune in to this one Sunday night. The Patriots have had to get over some bumps, but are still 3-0 on the season. At the end of the day that’s all that matters, but they have a difficult stretch of games ahead, so they may way to start getting healthy about now. The Falcons dropped their last matchup against the Dolphins, which many seen as an upset, 27-23. They were leading for most of the game, but ended up dropping the game in the remaining minutes. The Falcons and their fans will be able to forget about all that if they can beat the Patriots Sunday night.
I had a good week 3 in the NFL, and am already off to a 1-0 start to week 4 with a win on Thursday night. I’m writing this Saturday night, so I’m not sure how I did on my afternoon picks, but let’s hope I’m going into tonight with a perfect record. Now let’s get right down to my Patriots vs. Falcons pick and some justification into a winner.
Patriots vs. Falcons Betting Odds:
New England Patriots +3(-120)
@Atlanta Falcons -3(+100)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Patriots vs. Falcons Pick:
This isn’t exactly how Tom Brady envisioned things going when he took a pay-cut in the offseason. Brady took a cut with the expectations that the Patriots were going to provide him with more weapons to worth with, or to resign Wes Welker. The Patriots ended up doing neither, and are now stuck with a bevy of inexperienced receivers. I think there is a lot of promise with this group in the future, Aaron Dobson should end up being a great receiver in the NFL, but Brady isn’t getting any younger and is running out of time. The current Patriots actually kind of remind me of the team of the early 2000s, however. And that certainly isn’t a bad thing, the team ended up going on to winning three Super Bowls, so don’t count them out because their offense isn’t up to par with what they had in their 2007 run. Nowadays the Patriots, believe it or not, look to ugly games up with a solid running game and let the defense win them games. It would help if running back Shane Vereen didn’t suffer a serious injury, but Stevan Ridley, with his fumbleitis and all, is capable of carrying the Patriots on the ground.
Rewinding back to 2003, this is a game that will be won by the Patriots’ defense. It has to be, because I don’t think their offense is fully capable of keeping up with the Falcons if their defense doesn’t show up to the party. I think the defense will show up though and be effective. They have been the best in generating turnovers the past three seasons. In addition, even though they have given up plenty of yards, they keep teams off the scoreboard and don’t give up many points. This year they haven’t been allowing many yards and aren’t giving up any points. With the quality of linebackers they have and defensive line, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be this good. The Pats are 9th in the league in yards allowed and giving up only 11.3 points a game, 2nd in the NFL. If they continue to play like this, then they may survive their time without tight end Rob Gronkowski. I’m sure the Patriots wish they had the offense they did last year, and are kicking themselves for letting Welker walk. Imagine this defense and that offense on the same team?
The Patriots are entering Sunday night banged up offensively, but the Falcons have their own share of injuries as well. Both receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones are questionable, running back Steven Jackson is out for a few weeks, corner Asante Samuel is questionable, and tackle Sam Baker is most likely out, too. So while all of the attention has been on how banged the Patriots are, the Falcons are just as bad, if not worse off. I think if they’re healthy they win that game last week, but they had trouble closing the Dolphins out without an effective running game. Matt Ryan only threw for 231 against a pretty good Dolphins’ defense, and will need to deal with another good one in week 4. The Falcons are 9th in the NFL with regards to total offense and average 23.7 points per game. Most of that offense came against the St. Louis Rams, though. They struggled against the New Orleans Saints to open the year, then coughed last week up against the Dolphins.
It is important to note that Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots will be absent Sunday night, as they have already been ruled out. The Falcons won’t be going at 100% either, and I think the injuries impact the Falcons more than they do the Patriots. They’ve always somehow been able to make it work with whoever is on the field. There is a huge coaching advantage to the Patriots in this game. I think that goes without saying, but after three average weeks I can see Bill Belichick having the Patriots ready to go for their most difficult opponent yet. I have a feeling this will be the Patriots best offensive showing yet and Brady puts together a complete effort in primetime. People are overlooking the Falcons injuries, but I’m not going to here. Bovada is offering a +3 on the Patriots, and that is what I’ll be on for SNF in week 4.
PICK: Patriots +3 (-120)