Two teams that have their play-off hopes in the balance meet in Thursday’s NFL clash, as New England Patriots travel to Georgia to face Atlanta Falcons.
The Pats go into the game with a 6-4 record and sitting second in the AFC East, whilst the Falcons bring up the rear in the NFC South and are currently 4-5.
The two sides met in Super Bowl LI when New England ran out 34-28 victors, but times have changed and who will come out on top four years down the line?
Pats Finding Form at the Right Time
Bill Belichick’s men have won four in a row going into Thursday’s game and their offence looks to be gathering pace, scoring 150 points during that winning run.
With the Falcons conceding 43 points to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, a high-scoring game could be on the cards, with over 49 points overall available to back at 21/20.
Last week, the Pats blew away the Cleveland Browns 45-7, with Mac Jones throwing three touchdowns and back-up Brian Hoyer also getting a run out.
Tight End Hunter Henry has been a key player for New England in recent weeks, claiming four touchdowns in the last four games and can be backed at 6/5 to score at anytime on Thursday.
With upcoming games against Tennessee Titans (top of AFC South) and Buffalo Bills (top of AFC East) over the next couple of weeks, this looks like a key clash for the Pats – who missed out on the play-offs last season.
Falcons in Last-Chance Saloon
In contrast to their opponents, Atlanta have lost two of their last three games and their play-off hopes appear to be hanging by a thread.
The Falcons main issue appears to be on offence, with Arthur Smith’s team the third lowest points scorers in the NFC, with just 178 points racked up during their nine matches to date.
QB Matt Ryan’s completion rate has dropped significantly in recent weeks and the 36-year-old has not completed 30+ passes since Week Five and was successful with just nine passes against the Cowboys last week.
Ryan, who is in his 14th season in the NFL, is 10/11 to pass for over 250.5 yards against the Pats, with Under 19.5 ‘Team Total Points’ for Atlanta is available at 50/51.
Another major concern for the Falcons and their fans will be their record at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with their only ‘home’ win in four games coming in the UK, when they defeated New York Jets at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Falcons have failed to make it past the regular season in the last three campaigns and it may need a couple of years of rebuilding before they can challenge again, with the hosts now 9/2 to make the play-offs this season.
The 2016 NFC champions – 47/20 to win Thursday night’s clash – also have some injury concerns going into this assignment, with Tight-End Hayden Hurst struggling with an ankle problem.
*All odds correct at time of writing.