The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons square off in Thursday Night Football action at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to kick off NFL Week 11 (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFLN). The Patriots are surging with four consecutive outright wins and covers.
The point spread jumped from New England -4 on look-ahead lines last week to as high as -7 in the wake of last Sunday’s blowouts involving these two teams. The betting market consensus has Pats -7 with reduced juice. BetMGM is dealing -6.5 as of mid-day Wednesday for bettors looking to lay the points.
NFL · Thu (11/18) @ 8:22pm ET
|Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia|
New England Patriots (6-4, 6-4 ATS) at Atlanta Falcons (4-5, 4-5 ATS)
Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
BetMGM Line: Patriots -6.5 (47.5)
The skinny: Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones, who just had his best game of the season (based on passer rating), goes against Falcons veteran QB Matt Ryan, who just had his worst game of 2021.
Facts: Atlanta is coming off a 43-3 beatdown at Dallas, tied for the second-most lopsided loss in the league this season. Ryan’s passer rating of 21.4 was not just an NFL-low this year, it was also the worst of his 14-year career. That came a week after Ryan was named NFL Offensive Player of the Week, following the Falcons’ 27-25 upset victory in New Orleans.
The Falcons have been without Calvin Ridley, their top WR from last season, due to a mental-health break the past two weeks. Now, Atlanta’s top rusher and second-leading receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson (questionable, ankle), might not be operating at full speed, if at all.
New England was without leading rusher Damien Harris (concussion) in its 45-7 home win over Cleveland last week but did fine with Rhamondre Stevenson, who rushed for 100 yards. Harris was limited in Tuesday’s drills.
New England’s offense had TD drives of 99, 92, and 95 yards last week against Cleveland. Only one other team has had as many as two 90-plus-yard marches in a game this season.
The Patriots have won six in a row in this series, all under coach Bill Belichick, including their epic 34-28 comeback victory in Super Bowl 53.
Analysis: Entering Atlanta’s game against the Cowboys, Ryan was coming off his best outing of the year. QB Dak Prescott, who had his worst a week earlier in a 30-16 loss to Denver, countered with his best performance.
Is this the week New England’s Jones hits a low point and Ryan excels again? Probably not. Ryan doesn’t have a running game to take the heat off against the Patriots, and standout TE/WR Kyle Pitts will surely attract more attention if Patterson isn’t a full-go. Then there’s that Falcons pass defense, which ranks as the second-worst in the league.
One more thing: The Falcons know what it’s like to get hammered, losing three games by 23 or more points, including one at home. Only the bottom-feeding Jets and Texans have also had that many poundings.
Patriots at Falcons Pick
Patriots 31, Falcons 13
Last week: 4-10 ATS, 4-9-1 SU
Season total: 71-76-3 (.483) ATS; 89-60-1 (.597) SU