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Patriots To Rub Salt Into Falcons’ Wounds

October 20, 2017

The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will face off on Sunday in a rematch of Super Bowl LI at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots staged the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to win the Vince Lombardi trophy, rallying from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter.

New England clinched their fifth Super Bowl crown when James White scored in overtime and they will look to channel their fourth quarter performance on home soil on Sunday.

Bill Belichick’s men are 4-2 in their campaign, but have not been at their best this term, especially on home soil. The Patriots have lost two of their three home matches thus far, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Carolina Panthers.

Their form on the road has propped up their record, defeating the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets, but they are a long way from the side that triumphed in February.

The Falcons are equally struggling following their defeat to the Miami Dolphins last time out.  Atlanta gave up a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl and there were echoes of that display against Miami, allowing Adam Gase’s men to rally from a 17-point deficit to win the game.

Dan Quinn’s side are 3-2 in their season, but they could easily by 1-4 if not for two goalline stands against the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions. They need a response from their defeat to the Dolphins and a win over the side that conquered them in the Super Bowl could provide them with a vital spark.

We’ll now break down the contest looking at both sides’ start to the season and featuring the best value betting odds.

New England Patriots

The Patriots will be aiming for another win over Atlanta

The Patriots have not been at their best this season. Their defense is on pace to be one of the worst in NFL history, allowing all six of their opponents to throw for over 300 yards this season.
Josh McCown became the latest quarterback to thrive last week. However, Malcolm Butler and Devin McCourty made important plays to stymie the Jets’ offense.

New England invested heavily in the secondary with the addition of Stephon Gilmore. The 26-year-old has not been at his best on the field and was sidelined last week with a concussion.
Gilmore will miss his second-straight game on Sunday, while Eric Rowe will also miss out due to a groin injury. That leaves the club’s already suspect defense even more vulnerable.

The lack of pass-rush from the defensive line has played a significant role in their issues. Trey Flowers and Malcom Brown have been solid, but the rest of the front seven have failed to apply pressure.

As a result of the defense’s issues, Brady has had to elevate the level of his play. The 40-year-old continues to be the best quarterback in the NFL, despite being the oldest at the position.

He was outstanding in their opening four matches, although he has made a couple of mistakes in the last two games. Rob Gronkowski’s return against the Jets was crucial as he notched two scores.
Gronkowski did not play in the Super Bowl, but should be remain at his best form, between him and Brady – the Patriots are in a strong position to win the contest.

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta need a response

The Falcons have shown worrying signs in their last two matches. They’ve lost back-to-back home matches to the Buffalo Bills and the Dolphins. Matt Ryan and company built a 17-point lead against Miami on home soil, but familiar mistakes on offense prevented them from killing off the game.

In the second half, they allowed the Dolphins’ offense led by Jay Cutler, which has struggled immensely in the early stages of the season, put 20 points on the board. Last term Atlanta’s offense was the most dominant unit in the NFL. However, under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian they’ve taken a step back this term.

Ryan has not operated at the MVP level he played at throughout the last campaign. He has thrown six touchdowns to six interceptions, while also losing a fumble. He was extremely accurate in 2016, but has had troubles with his ball placement.

Julio Jones has not recorded a touchdown this season – a shocking statistic for arguably the best wideout in the NFL. He needs to find his rhythm to get Atlanta firing on all cylinders. Injuries have played a part as Mohamed Sanu has missed time, but the Falcons have to raise the standard of their performances to keep pace in the NFC South.

Defensively, Vic Beasley’s return from injury should provide a boost to the pass-rush. The 25-year-old led the NFL in sacks last season, and has two already despite being limited to three matches this term.

Desmond Trufant missed the majority of the 2016 campaign, including the Super Bowl. He has provided security in the secondary to cope with Brady and company. One area of concern in their defeat to the Dolphins was Jay Ajayi’s success in the running game. Atlanta cannot afford the Patriots to control the pace of the game on Sunday.

Betting Options

The Patriots have been underwhelming this season, but their character has carried them to four wins. Atlanta should be in a stronger position, but their inability to close out matches remains a worrisome for Quinn.

New England will have the psychological edge heading into the contest due to their exploits in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons have had plenty of reminders in the off-season and this week about their collapse.

Belichick’s men are not far off putting together a complete 60 minutes. It would be fitting for the AFC East outfit to find their full flow against the Falcons to kickstart their campaign.

Expect the Patriots to win the contest due to their ability to make plays at the crucial moments – back them at 29/50  with Bet365. However, take Atlanta with the +3 spread at 1/1  as it be another close contest.

Chris Hogan has been active in the endzone this season, with five touchdowns. He has great value at 13/10  with Betway to score anytime on Sunday. The contest should be high scoring between two sides that are strong on offense. Back the Falcons at odds of 5/6  with 888Sport to score over 26.5 points against a vulnerable Patriots defense.

Tips Summary

New England Patriots To Beat Atlanta Falcons
Sunday 22nd October 2017 20:30 ET (Monday 23rd October 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: 29/50

Take +3 Points For Atlanta Falcons
Sunday 22nd October 2017 20:30 ET (Monday 23rd October 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: 1/1

Chris Hogan To Score Touchdown Anytime
Sunday 22nd October 2017 20:30 ET (Monday 23rd October 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: 13/10

Atlanta Falcons To Score Over 26.5 Points
Sunday 22nd October 2017 20:30 ET (Monday 23rd October 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: 5/6

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Matt Ryan
  • New England Patriots
  • NFL
  • Tom Brady

    About the author

    Eric Roberts
    Eric Roberts

    Sports Journalist

    Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.