A Super Sequel

AFC Game Of The Week

Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots

Falcons: What a difference a year can truly make and coaching is also a bigger factor than you may think. The Atlanta Falcons were the best offensive team in the NFL in 2016 with Matt Ryan having the best season of his career and winning the league MVP. This offense wouldn’t have been the unit it was if it hadn’t been for Kyle Shanahan who’s gone on to become a head coach themselves. When you watch the film of how they were in 2016, it was a free-flowing offense and if you were open, you had the perfect opportunity to make a play when it presented itself. This year, you don’t see any of that and just when I think Matt has it figured out, he regresses. He holds onto the football for too long, he forces the ball into tight spaces and that ends up being an interception and they don’t run the ball which is extremely shocking considering how consistent they were with their ground game. Their defense hasn’t been all that great either and their biggest concern with them is their ability to get complacent and you saw that in their last two games which both resulted in losses. This is a game every player for this organization has had their eye on since the schedules were released.

Patriots: They’re 4-2 right now, but to be 100 percent honest with you, I’m still not thoroughly sold on them. Tom has been Tom as we all expected him too and the Patriots offense is still one of the best in the business right now, even without Julian Edelman and last week, I discussed exactly how he impacts this offense and how he’s just as important to their scheme as Gronkowski is. They’ve improved somewhat on defense. The secondary is mixing it up with different looks whether it’d be a cover one, cover two or man to man coverage, but there’s still work to be done if they want to repeat as Super Bowl champions again. When you look at their first six games of this season, each quarterback they faced has one thing in common and that’s throwing the football for more than 300 yards passing. They got off to a very slow start last week in their battle with the Jets who gave them everything they could, but once that second half came around, they made their adjustments as they always do and came away with the victory. They are still struggling to rush the passer and when they can’t get off the field, they always think Brady will come bail them out and it just can’t be all on the quarterback. With a win on Sunday night, they’ll have a season-high two-game lead in the AFC East.

Falcons Player To Watch: Devonta Freeman– So let me get this right. He has a great season in 2016, he signs a contract extension this off-season and so far this year, you’ve turned away from using him? When he gets his touches, the Falcons are a much better offensive team. Not only is he a factor in the ground game, he’s also a key piece in their passing game because he can line up in the slot and he’s able to create those mismatches with a linebacker or safety in space. Get him the ball!

Patriots Player To Watch: Malcolm Butler– The hero from a few seasons ago! You say you’re a number one corner, you want to get paid like one, this is your chance to prove yourself with one of the best at his position coming to town on Sunday night and the way your secondary has been playing, they’ll attack it as often as they can.

Final Analysis: When the Falcons enter this game on Sunday, they can’t think about what took place in February. It happened, you blew the lead, you lost the game, you were the butt of many online jokes all off-season long. Now, it’s time to focus on what’s ahead of you now. Running the football will be essential for the Falcons to get the ball down the field how they want. Defensively, I’m attacking an offensive line that’s been horrible all year long. The key for New England is to get off to a fast start. They have come out the gates extremely sluggish to begin games. The better you start, the better the game will be for you.

Prediction: Patriots 31 Falcons 27