Don’t look now but the New England Patriots have won four straight games and are firmly in the mix both in the AFC East race with the Buffalo Bills and the AFC race overall. Rookie Mac Jones seems to be hitting his stride and the Patriots have been playing their trademark tough defense.
They’ll look to keep the good times rolling on Thursday night when they visit the Atlanta Falcons, who are coming off a tough loss and are struggling to find some sort of consistency. The NFL betting odds are favoring New England, which is 4-0 on the road.
|New England Patriots||-6 (-110)||N/A||o47 (-110)|
|Atlanta Falcons||+6 (-110)||N/A||u47 (-110)|
New England has absolutely dominated this matchup recently, winning the last six meetings going back to 1998, the last time Atlanta won. Of course, the most famous of those games was Super Bowl LI in 2017, a game from which the Falcons — and their fans — still haven’t recovered.
The Patriots lead the historical series 9-6 overall. The last time these teams played was in the 2017 regular season (months after the Super Bowl) and the Patriots easily won 23-7 behind a pair of Tom Brady touchdown passes.
New England Patriots
Next game: vs. Tennessee Titans
The Patriots dismantled a banged-up Cleveland Browns team on Sunday, cruising to a 45-7 rout as 2½-point home favorites. Cleveland actually scored on the game’s first drive but New England immediately responded and it fell apart from there. The Patriots held Cleveland to 217 yards of total offense while Jones was 19 of 23 with three touchdown passes, and Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 100 yards and two scores.
Over bettors have Brian Hoyer and the Patriots’ backups to thank, as they led a 95-yard touchdown drive in garbage time to push the game total over 45 points.
The Patriots were missing a few key pieces on Sunday who might not be back during a short week. Tight end Jonnu Smith (shoulder), running back Damien Harris (concussion) and wide receiver/returner Gunner Olszewski (concussion) all were inactive, as was linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle, injured reserve).
The good news for New England is that the Patriots didn’t lose anyone to significant injuries during their rout of the Browns, so they should be getting healthier overall.
Next game: at Jacksonville Jaguars
A week after a big win over the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons crashed back to earth on Sunday as they got pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys, losing 43-3 in a game that was never really close. Atlanta got a field goal on its first drive and didn’t do much on offense the rest of the way as Matt Ryan threw two picks and completed just nine passes.
The Falcons were demolished as 7½-point road underdogs and, because of how little their offense could do, the over (55 points) wasn’t in danger of hitting at any point.
Atlanta was without a few depth pieces on offense and defense for the Dallas game and lost tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle), linebacker Darin Bates (groin), and safety Jaylinn Hawkins (ankle) due to injury during the game. It might be tough for those guys to come back with the Falcons next playing in just three days.
Betting on the Game
Statistically speaking, this game is a big mismatch. The Patriots are seventh in scoring offense and second in scoring defense while the Falcons are 25th in scoring offense and 31st (second-worst in the entire league) in scoring defense.
Of course, some of these numbers are skewed by a few blowout New England wins (and a few blowout Atlanta losses) but they do speak a lot about both teams’ seasons.
So, it makes sense why, on the BetUS Sportsbook, the Patriots opened up as a pretty sizable six-point favorites on the road. They have the best coach in the league, an improving young quarterback, solid skill-position weapons, and a talented and experienced defense, all of which bode well against the Falcons, who seem to take one or two steps back with every step forward.
But, six points is still a lot, especially against a veteran quarterback like Ryan, who still has a lot left in the tank, even if he didn’t show it against Dallas and has had a few ugly performances this season.
New England will have its hands full guarding rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who looks like a star, and Cordarrelle Patterson, even with top wideout Calvin Ridley still sidelined for mental health concerns.
If you’re making NFL picks and parlays, consider waiting for the moneylines on this game to be posted. You could get solid value for taking a flier on the Falcons to win straight-up.
The statistics might not back up that bet but Atlanta had a big win over the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago and has, generally speaking, played much better football since its bye week than before.
As far as betting online goes, the under might also be a good idea. The Falcons average fewer than 20 points per game and the Patriots give up fewer than 18, so we might be in for a real defensive showdown.