NFL Game of the Week: Falcons vs. Patriots
Entering Week 7 of the NFL season, a Super Bowl rematch in Foxborough highlights this week’s game as the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots.
This matchup of the Falcons and Patriots is a rematch from last year’s Super Bowl where New England made their historic comeback down 28-3 in the late 3rd quarter to win the game 34-28 in overtime. This was the first Super Bowl to go into overtime and quickly became an instant classic.
Quarterback Tom Brady was named MVP as he finished with 466 yards and two touchdowns. Running back James White also added 139 total yards and three touchdowns. Falcons quarterback and league MVP Matt Ryan totaled up 284 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort.
Atlanta enters Week 7 with a record of 3-2 and New England owning a 4-2 record. The Falcons are coming off a tough loss at home to Miami, where they blew a 17-0 lead. New England is entering this week with back-to-back wins over the Buccaneers and the Jets.
Both teams haven’t lived up to the preseason expectations put on them. Atlanta looks like they are dealing with the “Super Bowl Hangover” and New England’s defense has been historically bad this season after leading the league in points allowed last year.
However, with the familiarity these two teams have with each other and Atlanta’s desire to beat New England, it should lead to a very good game on Sunday Night Football.
Falcons Offense vs. Patriots Defense
The explosive Falcons offense looks to dominate against a weak Patriots defense come Sunday night.
Atlanta’s offense is led by Matt Ryan and wideouts Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Ryan has struggled this year a little after being MVP last season. Ryan has six touchdowns compared to six interceptions as we approach the mid-point on the season. Thus, Julio Jones’ numbers are down as a result as he has yet to catch a touchdown this season.
The Falcons’ running attack is led by a two-headed monster in the backfield in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Both backs have been exceptional this season as Freeman has 353 yards and five touchdowns, while Coleman has added 213 yards and one touchdown. Both are more than capable receivers out of the backfield as they have combined for 25 receptions.
New England’s defense has been flat out atrocious this season as they rank dead last in yards allowed at 440.7 yards per game. Also, have allowed the third most points in the league, allowing 26.5 points per game. Free agent addition cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been one of the major disappointments on defense given his talent and contract.
The Patriots rush defense hasn’t been much better this season, as they rank 19th in the league allowing 115.8 yards per game on the ground. The Pats have a relatively weak front seven that Atlanta could look to attack with Freeman and Coleman.
Patriots Offense vs. Falcons Defense
The league’s number one offense led by the MVP frontrunner look to attack one of the stingier defenses in the NFC.
New England’s offense is run by the MVP frontrunner and greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. Brady has been nothing short of magnificent this season, as he leads the league in passing yards (1,959) and is tied for second with 13 touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski will continue to be his number one target as Gronk has 26 receptions and six touchdowns.
The Patriots have a balanced rushing attack as they use three different backs. Mike Gillislee, Dion Lewis and James White all see time in the backfield and are very good receivers out of the backfield. The three have combined for 540 rushing yards and six touchdowns this season. White in particular is exceptional as a receiver, as he has a team-leading 33 receptions this season.
Atlanta is middle of the pack in the league when it comes to defense, as they rank 15th in points allowed per game. However, they are among the worst in the league when it comes to taking the ball away, as they rank 27th in interceptions with only two on the season. The Falcons will set out to attack the football and get some turnovers, so they can get their elite offense back on the field.
The Falcons front seven is led by linebacker Deion Jones, who leads the team in tackles with 38. But, Atlanta struggles to put pressure on the quarterback as they only have 12 sacks on the season. So, look for several blitzes out of the Falcon defense as safety Keanu Neal is one of the best blitzers out of the secondary.
This game might not live up to the Super Bowl from last year, but has the potential to be a really good football game. Neither of the defenses are that good, so viewers should expect a shootout between two elite MVP quarterbacks.
However, given the fact that New England is at home and Brady is playing at his all-time best right now, I think that the Patriots come away with a tough win over Atlanta in a close high-scoring game.
Prediction: New England 31, Atlanta 27
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.