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Patriots to Cover the Spread -6.5 (-110)
The New England Patriots only allow opponents to score 17.7 points per game, ranked second in that category, but they kept the Cleveland Browns to just a touchdown in Week 10, the 6-4 Bill Belichick experiment proving to be working fine with rookie quarterback Mac Jones under center, their top-10 defense a big reason they look like they could play in the postseason.
The 4-5 Atlanta Falcons seem hit or miss lately, and in Week 10 they missed completely getting creamed by the Dallas Cowboys, 3-43, a lopsided loss in which Falcons veteran quarterback Matt Ryan looked lost at times, yet despite all those struggles Atlanta is only two games behind in the NFC South so expect head coach Arthur Smith and company to bring their A-game.
These two cross-conference rivals have played each other 15 prior times (including 1 postseason game), with the Atlanta Falcons winning 6 of those games and the New England Patriots winning 9 of the games.
Like most Bill Belichick teams, this version of the New England Patriots got off to a slow start as they learned how to play well with each other, but now that 6-4 squad looks like a well-oiled machine after banging out four wins in a row, now with as many W’s as the Bills have with six.
They face an Atlanta Falcons team that has lost two of their last three matchups, and only one of the teams that they have beaten – the 5-4 New Orleans Saints – have a winning record, so this is a game that Belichick’s bunch should win easily, but in the NFL there is no such thing.
Atlanta is ranked in the bottom third of the league on both sides of the ball so Patriots quarterback Mac Jones should continue his recent success against them, and New England’s 6th ranked defense should keep these Falcons from finding the end zone too often.
This is Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s fourteenth NFL season – all with Atlanta – and the 36-year old team leader still shows plenty of skill under center, though he is coming off his worst game of the season after completing just 43 percent of his passes and throwing two picks in Week 10.
Now Ryan’s Falcons are in last place of the NFC South, but they are only two games behind the Bucs who lead the division, and they are still on the postseason bubble, ranked ninth in that conference with only seven teams advancing to the playoffs.
So it comes down to winning some big games and this Patriots matchup at home could serve as a turning point if Ryan can continue to get help from his run game including from talented veteran multi-purpose veteran Cordarrelle Patterson (below).
New England cornerback J.C. Jackson is tied for the second-most interceptions in the league with five, the 25-year old fourth-year player fitting in well with this Bill Belichick-designed defense.
So far this season, Jackson, the 6’ 1” 198 pound Florida alum, has posted some impressive numbers along with those five interceptions, including 38 total tackles, a touchdown, and a league-leading 14 passes defended, his stats growing exponentially every game.
With 22 career interceptions and 44 passes defended in his four pro seasons, expect Jackson to be on the prowl on Thursday night as he tries to snag one of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s errant throws to add to the eight interceptions that he has already thrown.
It’s veteran wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson’s ninth NFL season and it’s his most productive yet, with a career-high 116 total touches in 2021 for 776 total yards from scrimmage (also a career-best) for seven total touchdowns, a dual-threat on the field who is a lot of fun to watch.
Patterson is listed as a running back because he can run the ball out of the backfield, but he is also a talented receiver who forces defenses to game plan around him and account for him whenever he steps onto the field, someone who no doubt has caught Belichick’s attention.
For the Falcons to have a shot at a Week 11 win against the Patriots, Patterson will have to have a big game the way he did in Week 7 in a win over the Dolphins when he carried the ball 14 times for 60 yards and a touchdown while catching two passes for another yard.
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|Patriots vs Falcons Information|
|What||New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons|
|Where||Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA|
|When||Thursday, November 18, 2021; 8:20 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX / NFL Network|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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