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Thursday Night Football Preview — New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Football

Will Patriots Continue to Roll vs the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football

By Charles Jay

As we write this Thursday Night Football preview, we can’t find enough words to describe how strong the New England Patriots have been lately, relative to what the expectations of most BetAnySports customers may have been when they broke training camp.

And while not many people may have been confident about what the Atlanta Falcons might look like, there was optimism that Arthur Smith, the former offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans (and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith) would bring some fresh ideas.

Well, they’ve been up and down, with a 4-5 straight-up record (3-5-1 ATS). And last week they were down, as they were battered 43-3 by the Dallas Cowboys. That was their third loss by at least 23 points.

The Patriots and Falcons will lock horns at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, with the kickoff slated for 8:20 PM ET. With Prop Builder, you can find a lot of other ways to bet the game, but for now…..

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Thursday Night Football — Here are the numbers

New England Patriots -7 (+100)
Atlanta Falcons +7 (-120)

Over 47 points -110
Under 47 points -110

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Thursday Night Football — Along came Jones

Growing pains were expected as the Pats were introducing rookie quarterback Mac Jones to the NFL. And granted, some growing pains were experienced. But it goes without saying that he is better than coach Bill Belichick had hoped for. He has the poise under fire. He has the accuracy. And he has shown that he’s got the arm too.

And let’s face it – he didn’t take over the quarterback job from Cam Newton. He inherited it, for all intents and purposes, from Tom Brady. That adds a whole lot of pressure. But he’s handled it. And his college coach, Nick Saban of Alabama, isn’t surprised that he’s fit in well with the Pats, because of the amount of preparation time he puts in.

One would say it’s a two-man race between him and Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. But Jones has been on the hot seat from the beginning, and that ultimately might give him the edge.


Thursday Night Football —  Don’t forget the “D”

There were signs that the New England defense could have a strong season. They were bringing in a lot of people who were not with the team in 2020. These included players who were injured (Dont’a Hightower), players who came back after going elsewhere (Kyle Van Noy), rookies (Christian Barmore, second-round pick out of Alabama) and free agents like Matt Judon, who leads the team in sacks.

This is not a team that blitzes a lot; Belichick prefers to drop a lot of guys into coverage. As we speak, opposing quarterbacks have an 84.0 rating against New England. That is the second lowest number in the league. And they are yielding less than seven yards an attempt.

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Thursday Night Football — Falcons: What could have been

Actually, we shouldn’t be using that sub-header; Atlanta is still in the playoff mix, since there are going to be three wild card teams from each conference. But they haven’t LOOKED like a playoff team.

There was some optimism with offensive guru Arthur Smith coming in as head coach and Kyle Pitts, reportedly the best tight end prospect in years, coming to them in the first round. Calvin Ridley was ready to take a firm grasp of the #1 wide receiver job.

But now Ridley has temporarily retired from football for personal reasons, and if defenses want to focus on Pitts, there aren’t a lot of ways to go. Cordarrelle Patterson was moved from wide receiver to the backfield (a la Ty Montgomery in Green Bay a few years ago) and now he may be declared out with a high ankle sprain.

It is hard for Matt Ryan, a former MVP, to stretch the field. Indeed, his average Intended Air Yards is 7.0 per attempt. If he follows that, it makes it that much easier for the Pats to defend.

Thursday Night Football — Our conclusion

New England has run the ball 57% of the time over their last three games, and Belichick likes to be physical, often using one back as the lead blocker. Expect that to continue. Without the injured Damian Harris, Rhomandre Stevenson, a rookie from Oklahoma, will be the lead back, and he has an explosive element, as well as the ability to catch.

There will be some clock-chewing, for sure. And Jones should continue with his evolution. The Pats may be the NFL’s most consistent team over the last six weeks. And they are the better side. They were getting 75% of the money, last we looked. But are we getting value? Actually, we see more value in the “under” because we’re certain that it’s going to be a painstaking process for the Falcons to put together sustained drives.

Remember that at BetAnySports, you can take advantage of reduced juice, which allows you to avoid laying the standard -110 on football and makes a real difference in your wallet. And there are plenty of other ways to bet the game when you access Prop Builder, or for that matter, the multiple live betting options…….You can make your deposits with a credit card, or the virtual currency of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system, and NEVER incurs a transaction fee!

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