NFL Picks: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

SBR Staff

Sunday, September 29, 2013 11:12 AM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 29, 2013 11:12 AM UTC

The Atlanta Falcons Will Host the New England Patriots in the Georgia Dome for our NFL betting pleasure tonight. Let's pick apart this match-up to get on the right side of the betting lines.

The Atlanta Falcons have not been two games under .500 in Mike Smith’s tenure as Head Coach, in order to avoid just that, they will have to beat Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots. The Falcons are 1-2, playing 3 games decided by an average of just 5 ½ points, beating St. Louis at home between losses to New Orleans and Miami on the road. Since Mike Smith took over as Head Coach of the Falcons, they are 34-7 inside of the Georgia Dome during the regular season, where they will host the Patriots Sunday afternoon. Let's preview the match-up for our NFL picks.

It’s hard to believe, but this Patriots team is averaging just 4.5 yards per play this season which is 29th in the NFL. Though seeing some cohesion last week against the Buccaneers, the Patriots passing game has struggled this season due to injuries and departures. You can look at Brady’s completion percentage and yards per attempt and know something is off, through three games Brady has completed just 57.5% of his passes and is gaining 2 yards less per pass than last year. The Patriots run game has also taken a step back this year, Shane Vereen was impressive week one against the Bills but a broken wrist has seen him go from the team’s leading rusher to injured reserve (unable to return for at least 8 weeks). The “next man up” should have been Steven Ridley, but early fumble trouble has him in Coach Belichick’s dog house, which has the Patriots relying on LaGarrette Blount and Brandon Boldin to shoulder the load.

Atlanta meanwhile has one of the league’s best passing attacks and with the Patriots struggles on offense, that could be the difference Sunday. Matt Ryan is playing at a very high level, completing 68.2% of his passes for 909 yards and 6 touchdowns through three games. Ryan has also only been intercepted twice in 119 pass attempts and sacked just five times. Though starting runningback Steven Jackson is injured, the Falcons are coming off a strong performance rushing against Miami last week. Jacquizz Rogers and Jason Snelling combined for 139 yards on 29 carries in week three.

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This is a great spot for the Falcons to get a much needed win against a New England team that while improving has not quite found their rhythm. Matt Ryan and the Falcons should be able to easily outscore a Patriots team that is simply not in the same class.

Atlanta is 14-1 SU and 12-3 in 15 September home games since 2003.

Free NFL Picks: Take Atlanta at -2.5 at bet 365

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