Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Patriots -4
Current Line: Patriots -3
Opening Total: 54
Current Total: 56 1/2
Opening Money Line: Patriots -185 / Falcons +160
Current Money Line: Patriots -155 / Falcons +135
The Atlanta Falcons travel to the New England Patriots Sunday night. You might remember the last time they met was last February in Super Bowl LI in Houston. The Falcons led 28-3 in the third quarter before the Patriots rallied to win 34-28 in overtime for their fifth Super Bowl title. The Patriots lead the series 8-6 and have won five straight games against the Falcons. Atlanta hasn’t beaten New England since 1998.
Neither team is playing much like Super Bowl contenders this year though. New England is 4-2 and leads the AFC East by a half game over the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. Atlanta is 3-2 and tied with the New Orleans Saints with both teams a half game behind the 4-2 Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.
Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn. The Falcons have road wins over the Chicago Bears 23-17 and Detroit Lions 30-26, plus a home win over the Green Bay Packers 34-23. The Falcons have lost two straight games at home to the Buffalo Bills 23-17 and Miami Dolphins 20-17. The Falcons led 17-0 against the Dolphins, but Miami scored 20 straight points to stun the Falcons at home. Atlanta was a 14 point favorite and the total was 46. The Falcons are 2-3 ATS and the total is 2-3 this season.
New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 42-27 and against the Carolina Panthers 33-30. New England has road wins over the New Orleans Saints 36-20, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14 and New York Jets 24-17, and a home win over the Houston Texans 36-33. Against the Jets, the Patriots trailed 14-0 early before scoring 24 straight points to take control of the game. New England was a 9 point favorite against New York and the total was 48.5. The Patriots are 2-4 ATS and the over is 4-2 this season.
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Atlanta is outscoring teams 24-22 this season. The Falcons average 378 yards per game on offense including 258 passing yards and 121 rushing yards. Atlanta is in the top eleven in all three categories. On defense, Atlanta allows 312 yards per game including 210 passing and 102 rushing yards. Atlanta is #13 or better in all three categories. The Falcons are 26/58 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 30/71. Atlanta has forced 12 sacks and allowed 10 this season. The Falcons are -4 in turnovers and have allowed 2 defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 65.9% of his passes for 1,357 yards with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, plus 6 carries for 26 yards. He won the MVP last year but has struggled somewhat this season.
Running back Devonta Freeman has 79 carries for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns and also has 11 catches for 81 yards. Tevin Coleman has 38 carries for 213 yards and a touchdown, and also has 14 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Receiver Julio Jones has 25 catches for 367 yards and no touchdowns. Tight end Austin Hooper has 17 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown. Taylor Gabriel has 14 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown. Mohamed Sanu has 16 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Justin Hardy has 6 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Eleven defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Falcons. Kicker Matt Bryant is probable with a back injury.
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New England is outscoring opponents 29-27 this season. The Patriots are #5 in scoring and #30 in points allowed. New England averages 412 yards per game on offense including 310 passing and 102 rushing yards. New England is #1 in total and passing offense. The Patriots are allowing 441 yards per game on defense including 325 passing and 116 rushing yards. New England is last in total and passing defense and #21 in rush defense. The Patriots are 37/83 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 35/81. New England has forced 16 sacks and allowed 14 this season. The Patriots are +3 in turnovers.
Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 65.7% of his passes for 1,959 yards with 13 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 9 carries for 21 rushing yards. He has been sacked 16 times. Jimmy Garoppolo is the back-up.
Running back Mike Gillislee has 79 carries for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns. Dion Lewis has 30 carries for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 42 yards. James White has 23 carries for 99 yards and has 33 catches for 252 yards. Rex Burkhead is probable with a rib injury.
Receiver Brandin Cooks has 24 catches for 472 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 26 catches for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chris Hogan has 24 catches for 307 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a rib injury. Danny Amendola has 26 catches for 307 yards and a touchdown. Malcolm Mitchell is out until at least week 10 with a knee injury. Receiver Julian Edelman is out with a torn ACL suffered in the pre-season. Ten defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
Atlanta is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning home records, 9-2 in road games, 5-2 after failing to cover, 4-10 after a straight up loss, and 0-4 in October. The road team is 5-1 ATS and the over is 5-2 in this series recently.
New England is 7-1 ATS after allowing more than 350 total yards, 16-4-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 12-3-2 against teams with winning road records, 7-2 after failing to cover and against teams with winning records, 18-6-2 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 8-3 after a straight up win, 18-7 overall, 41-18-3 in October, 26-12-2 at home, 78-38-2 after gaining more than 350 yards, 1-3-1 in week seven, 1-4 after passing for 250 yards or more and on fieldturf. The Patriots have covered the last five games against the Falcons.
The Patriots have the number one offense but the worst defense. It creates some fun shootouts. Atlanta hasn’t been nearly the same juggernaut on offense as they were last year. They are averaging around 50 yards less per game and around 10 points less than they did last year. I think they get back their form against a Patriots defense that has been torched all season. I like the Falcons to pull off the road upset.