The 4-5 Atlanta Falcons are happy to flip the calendar to Week 11 as the squad is coming off one of the worst beatdowns in franchise history. Atlanta got beaten 43-3 in Dallas in a game where the entire starting lineup was benched before the fourth quarter started.
Atlanta’s starting QB, Matt Ryan was coming off multiple strong games, but on Sunday he only had nine completions through the entire game. The Falcons also had no success on the ground whatsoever and running back Cordarrelle Patterson (who has two touchdowns on the season) only reached 25 rushing yards on five carries. Atlanta gave up 308 yards to Dak Prescott in the air and – despite their run defense usually being solid – two touchdowns to Ezekiel Elliott.
Atlanta got outgained by 2 yards per play, 5.5 yards per passing play and their opponent was a perfect 5/5 against the Falcons in the red zone.
New England triumphant in Week 10
The 6-4 New England Patriots had quite a different experience in Week 10. The Patriots went down 0-7 in the early going against Cleveland to then just score 45 straight points without giving up one. New England was only forced to punt once in the entire game and ended up scoring on each and every one of their other drives winning the game 45-7.
If you look at the total yard differential between New England and their opponent, the Patriots outgained Cleveland by more than 230 total yards averaging 6.5 yards more per passing play than their opponents.
New England’s Mac Jones has been clearly the best quarterback from this 2021 rookie class as he currently sits 9th in the overall QB ranking list of Pro Football Focus. Jones was averaging 8.6 yards per pass attempt on Sunday, he reached 14 downs, and had a final passer rating of 142.1. This was Jones’s third straight game with a passer rating of 110 or higher. Can he do it again on Thursday?
Looking at the bigger picture
The Falcons got consistently bet by the public and professionals alike before their game against Dallas moving the betting spread three full points towards Atlanta. We can’t wait to see if the same happens here, but there is reason to have a little optimism for the Falcons here.
Atlanta’s defense clearly took a step forward in 2021 with the squad allowing a full yard less per reception to their opponents. The Falcons also give up a 0.6-yard lower average dept of target to opposing quarterback.
Offensively, things don’t look that amazing, especially with WR Calvin Ridley on the sidelines and the Falcons lacking explosive offensive players, but Atlanta still grades around league average in most offensive stats. The lone red flag is that Atlanta only averages 10.4 yards per successful reception, which is down from 11.3 yards last season when the team still had Julio Jones on its roster.
Atlanta Falcons – New England Patriots Odds
The matchup favors New England
The lone weak spot for New England is their pass defense as the Pats are allowing 11.5 yards per reception. As we wrote in our notes earlier, this is an area where the Falcons don’t really shine and we wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta is unable to take advantage of this matchup, especially that the rookie coaching staff of the Falcons only has a short week to prepare.
Pick: New England +5.5 -110 (1.91x) Bet365
Betting against rookie head coaches in Thursday Night Football has been a profitable angle for years and we are getting back on that bandwagon. Mac Jones looks like the real deal and you can bet that New England coach Bill Belichick will be well prepared to shut down this two-dimensional Atlanta offense. The lack of explosive passing attack for Atlanta should hurt them here.
Note: We would bet New England at –6 –110 (1.91x) or better, as our model makes this spread closer to 6.5-points.