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NFL Game Preview: New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons – 11/18

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Game: New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons 

Time: 8:20 p.m. ET 

Odds: Patriots -6.5, Falcons +6.5 

Total: 48 

The New England Patriots are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. Head coach Bill Belichick’s team has now won four in a row and looks to make it a fifth against a struggling Atlanta Falcons tonight. The Patriots are so hot bettors jumped on the New England bandwagon when the line on this game opened at New England -3.5. That line almost immediately jumped to its current -6.5.  

One of the big reasons for the Patriots’ success has been the development of rookie QB Mac Jones. He has turned out to be worthy of his first-round status in the draft. Last week was more evidence of his abilities as he completed 19-of-23 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. He became the first New England rookie quarterback to throw three touchdown passes without an interception in a single game.  

With Jones at the helm of the offense, New England is now sixth in the NFL in scoring averaging 27.5 points per game. That is only part of the story for the Patriots. Belichick has his defense playing at an incredibly high level. New England allows just 17.7 points per game, a number that is second in the NFL. In their last two games, the Patriots allowed seven points to Cleveland and six to Carolina. In seven of their ten games this season, New England has allowed 19 points or less. 

That defense shouldn’t be threatened by what is one of the bigger disappointments in the NFL this season. The Atlanta offense has been well known the past several years as one that puts up a lot of points. Matt Ryan has been one of the more prolific quarterbacks in the game for the past decade. Not this year. 

Ryan has thrown for 2,274 yards and 15 touchdowns, but the Falcons running game is almost non-existent. Atlanta averages just 82.9 yards per game on the ground. That has allowed teams to jump all over Ryan and the passing game. Teams are able to double cover Falcons receivers like rookie TE Kyle Pitts. The end result is that Atlanta manages to score just 19.8 points per game. That ranks 25th in the NFL this season. 

In addition to winning their last four games in a row, the Patriots are also 4-0 ATS in those four games. New England is also 6-0 SU and ATS in its last six games against Atlanta. It’s worth noting that New England is just 2-8 SU and ATS in its last ten games played in primetime. It’s not much better for Atlanta. The Falcons have covered the spread in just two of their last seven primetime games and they have only won once in their last seven games where they were a home underdog. 

The total has gone Under in Atlanta’s last ten primetime games. Despite their inability to score, the Falcons have seen the total go Over in four of their last six games. That has more to do with a defense that ranks 31st in points allowed per game.