On Sunday Night Football, the Atlanta Falcons (3-2) will travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on the Patriots (4-2) in a rematch of last years Super Bowl. This Sunday Night Football matchup will kick off at 8:30 PM/ET.
The Falcons and the Patriots faced off against each other in Super Bowl 51. It was the first overtime game in Super Bowl history, and it featured a massive comeback by the Patriots late in the fourth quarter to steal the victory. Coming into the 2017 season, the expectation was high for both squads. Through seven weeks, however, these teams have struggled more than expected.
The Falcons are on a two game losing streaks, having lost to the Dolphins and the Bills, while the Patriots are on a two game winning streak, but already have two home losses on the season. In a primetime game featuring two of the league best offenses, expect a high scoring affair and a lot of big plays.
Caution: The Patriots’ secondary is a work in progress.
That about sums up the current state of the Patriots’ defense. Even the most optimistic Patriots’ fan would have to say, at the very least, that the defense is a work in progress. Conventional wisdom believed that Stephon Gilmore’s addition to the Patriots’ secondary made this unit one of the best in the league. Communication issues and a concussion injury, however, have stalled those developments. The Patriots secondary isn’t bad, it’s much, much worse. They’re on their way to being historically terrible.
According to NFL Stats, the Patriots defense is giving up the most yards per game in the NFL. Part of the issue is the lack of a consistent pass rush. The Patriots are allowing opponents to convert on 43 percent of the time on third downs. Last week against the Jets, New England allowed New York to convert 9 of their 17 third down attempts. If not for a costly turnover that resulted in a touchback and a seven-point swing, the Patriots could have easily lost. The Patriots will need more than luck to beat Atlanta and their high flying offense.
Fortunately, the Patriots have their own high-flying offense that can go toe-to-toe with the Falcons. Tom Brady, even at 40 years old, continues to defy his age and level of play. Despite matching last season interception total already, the Patriots signal caller is off to a blistering start. So far on the season, Brady has 13 touchdowns to 2 interceptions. Against a Falcons defense that allowed 20 unanswered points in last weeks lost to Miami, expect Brady to drive the ball deep and test Atlanta’s secondary.
Stumbling through the AFC East: The Falcons Clipped Wings
Losers of their last two games, Atlanta will go into Foxborough facing a Patriots team that has already lost twice this season at home. The Falcons will face a Patriots secondary that is the worst in the NFL. In last years Super Bowl, the Falcons go off to a hot start. They went up big on New England and look to have the game well in hand, before it all fell apart. It’s arguably the worst loss in Super Bowl history. But, with that performance behind them, the Falcons will look to correct the mistakes and exact a little revenge.
After the Super Bowl, many fans and people in the media pointed out that Atlanta got away from running the football and that directly lead to the Patriots having enough time to come back in the game. This week the Falcons need to redeem that mistake and run the ball against the Patriots. According to NFL Stats, the Falcons’ rushing attack ranks 11th in the league. If Atlanta can play a balanced game and force the Patriots to stay honest on defense, then except Atlanta’s offense to put up a lot of points on the Patriots’ porous defense.
Patriots vs Falcons Betting Lines
BetOnline.ag has the Patriots favored to win the game by 3 points. The over/under on total points scored is 56.5. You can read our full BetOnline review here.
A lot has changed since the Super Bowl, and a lot remains the same. The Patriots are without Super Bowl hero, Julian Edelman, but they have a healthy Rob Gronkowski. Atlanta offense doesn’t appear to have the air of invincibility it displayed last year. According to NFL Stats, the Patriots run defense ranks 12th in the league. If the Patriots can force the Falcons to play a one-dimensional game, then there’s a chance the Patriots’ offense can go toe-to-toe with Atlanta’s offense, and win. Expect the Patriots to out duel their opponent in a razor-sharp, high scoring, back and forth affair.
Play: Patriots -3 @ BetOnline.ag
Falcons • NFL Betting Pick • Patriots • Sunday Night Football Betting Pick • Super Bowl Rematch