When the Patriots (6-4) travel to play the Falcons (4-5) to open up NFL Week 11 on “Thursday Night Football” (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video), they will be looking stay hot with their fifth consecutive win. While New England wants to keep winning to improve its stronger AFC playoff chances, the Falcons want to avoid a fade from the NFC wild-card race.
Rookie Mac Jones is looking good at QB for the Patriots with the running game and defense also playing at high level. Falcons veteran counterpart Matt Ryan is struggling with an inconsistent season, given his dwindling weapons in a new offense.
Will the Patriots stay rolling or will the Falcons “rise up” to get off the mat, just like they did against the Saints two weeks ago?
Here’s everything to know about betting on Patriots vs. Falcons in Week 11, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Thursday Night Football.”
WEEK 11 NFL PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up
Patriots vs. Falcons odds for Thursday Night Football
The Patriots have become slightly bigger favorites from the initial 6-point line in their favor. The Falcons don’t have much offensively and the Patriots have been near dominant defensively, which adds up to the lower point total.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Patriots vs. Falcons all-time series
The teams have met only 15 times with the Patriots holding a 9-6 advantage. They met in the 2017 regular season with the Patriots winning 23-7 in a rematch of Super Bowl 51, in which the Patriots erased a late 28-3 deficit to get another ring with Tom Brady. The Patriots have taken six straight games in the series, following a four-win run by the Falcons
Three trends to know
—77 percent of spread bettors think the Falcons are better than that as home night underdogs and like them to cover inside a touchdown.
—57 percent of over/under bettors think the point total is too low given the Patriots’ offense is on fire and the Falcons can put up some garbage scoring with Ryan.
—The Patriots are 6-4 against the spread and 6-4 straight up in their past 10 games, with the total going over in half of them. The Falcons are 4-6 ATS and 4-6 SU in their past 10 games. The total has gone over six times in that span.
Three things to watch
Who will run the ball for the Patriots?
The Patriots have red-hot rookie Rhamdondre Stevenson but Damien Harris has been cleared to play to join him to make it a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield again. Expect the Falcons on stopping the run and forcing Jones to beat them downfield on the road. Still, the Patriots should remain effective rushing no matter to open up things all over the field for Jones.
Who will catch the ball for the Falcons?
The Falcons traded Julio Jones. Calvin Ridley, who was set to be their top wide receiver, is out taking a personal break from the game. They also will be without second tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle) for the game and wide receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle), their best and most dynamic offensive weapon all season for new coach Arthur Smith, is a game-time decision. The Patriots’ pass defense is tough with good pressure and fine corners. Ryan could be in for another rough game after last week’s Cowboys debacle. You can bet New England also will scheme to take his best remaining target, rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, out of the game.
Will Jones roll again or Ryan rebound?
Speaking of Ryan, he’s been on a roller coaster in yet another new offense for him, which tends to be the case. He’s got limited protection on top of lower-level weapons except for Pitts. He should struggle again with the Patriots’ amoeba scheming. Jones should feel rather comfortable against Dean Pees’ defense, given Belichick knows all about it. The run will set up the pass nicely to tight end Hunter Henry, wide receiver Kendrick Bourne and others.
Stat that matters
246.2. That’s how many average passing yards per game the Falcons defense gives up. They are not good at controlling quarterbacks who can spread the ball around to a variety of wide receivers and also deploy the tight end well. The Patriots qualify as that kind of attack with the young, growing-in-confidence Jones.
Patriots vs. Falcons prediction
The Patriots are on fire and with Belichick, they tend to take care of so-called trap games like this. Belichick has owned the Falcons and that shouldn’t change here opposite Smith. Jones, back near Alabama in Atlanta, puts together another strong game to further his offensive rookie of the year push, and more important, get New England closer to a return to the playoffs.
Patriots 27, Falcons 20
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