Sunday, Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Pointspread: Atlanta -1
Total Line: 49.5
New England is off to a 3-0 straight-up start, but tight wins over Buffalo and the New York Jets as a double-digit favorite as raised some legitimate questions to just how good this team really is. This past Sunday the Patriots looked more themselves in a 23-3 victory over Tampa Bay as 7.5-point home favorites, but that may have been more a product of a Buccaneers’ team that is in complete disarray. The total has stayed UNDER in all three Patriots’ games this year.
The main problem has been an offense with a future ‘Hall of Fame’ quarterback at the helm trying to throw the ball to a severely depleted receiving corps. Tom Brady has had his hands tied with All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski continuing to recover from offseason surgeries and wide receiver Danny Amendola still listed as doubtful while dealing with a groin injury. The one positive has been the play of New England’s defense, which is currently ranked eighth overall in the NFL and second in points allowed.
The Falcons are another mystery through their first three games. A loss on Sunday night would equal their entire loss total from a year ago. After losing to New Orleans 23-17 on opening day as a 3.5-point road underdog, Atlanta followed-up a lackluster 31-24 win over St. Louis as a four-point home favorite with a 27-23 loss to Miami last Sunday as a three-point underdog on the road. The total stayed UNDER against the Saints, but it has gone OVER in its last two games.
Starting on the offensive side of the ball, the one glaring weakness has been a running game that is averaging 90 yards a game. The passing game remains solid with Matt Ryan throwing for 909 yards and six touchdowns while completing 68.1 percent of his attempts. Julio Jones is off to a strong start with 27 receptions for 373 yards and two scores. The Falcons have done a good job stopping the run on defense, but they are ranked 25th in the league against the pass. Through three games, the defense is allowing an average of 24.7 points a game.
Free NFL Pick
Both of these teams have not played to form in their first three games, but Atlanta’s problems are correctable while the Patriots’ passing game will still be missing some key players on Sunday night. Stick with the Falcons at home as the free NFL pick in this matchup as they find a way to get past New England to even their mark at 2-2.
Atlanta 23 New England 20
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.