NFL Picks: Patriots vs. Falcons Week 4

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 5:59 PM GMT

As we peruse the NFL odds we look towards a clash of playoff contenders as the Patriots travel to Atlanta in our NFL picks preview.


New England Patriots (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS)

Last week the Patriots offense showed signs of life and Tom Brady’s lingering frustration with rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins had to be dissipated with their sudden emergence over a tough Tampa Bay Buc defense. Brady connected on two TD strikes to Thompkins and found Dobson seven times for 52 yards. Meanwhile, the defense stood strong in New England’s 23-3 victory in Foxboro last Sunday.

But this week they will be in hostile territory for a Monday night matchup that will test the Patriots number two defense (surrendering just 11.3 PPG) against an elite passer in Matt Ryan. Aqib Talib has become indispensable in the Pats secondary and intercepted Josh Freeman last week for his third pick of the season.

The Pats have been surprisingly porous against the run, allowing 120 yards per game, but their pass defense which has been the bane of their existence in recent years is ranked 6th in the NFL surrendering just 188 yards per contest. The secondary will be tested in this game against the Falcons as they will be facing the dynamic duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White, although White has been less than dynamic recently due to an ankle injury. In addition, the Patriots will also have to be cognizant of the ageless Tony Gonzalez particularly in the red zone if they want to maintain their recent string of success against the pass.

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Atlanta Falcons (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS)

Steven Jackson will not be suiting up for the Dirty Birds this weekend as he continues to nurse a hamstring injury that has plagued him since the onset of the season. That means Jacquizz Rodgers will carry the load against a New England defense led by perennial All-Pro Vince Wilfork anchoring the middle. Rodgers didn’t see the endzone last week in place of Jackson but he did tally 86 yards on 18 carries (4.8 yards/carry). If Rodgers falters, Jason Snelling will be called upon to take the reps and move the chains on the ground.

Matty Ice will be pulling the trigger for the Falcons and the entire team is well aware they have let five consecutive halftime leads disappear, dating back to last season. They did it again last week when they bowed to the Dolphins in the waning moments when Dion Sims caught a one-yard flare from Ryan Tannehill into the endzone to fall 27-23. Atlanta’s field marshal will no doubt be looking to pass first as he leads the 7th ranked passing attack against Patriots secondary that has shown signs of maturation but still leave many unconvinced.

Get the NFL Odds Report for Week 4 right here~

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The Pick

This looks like the perfect spot for the Pats to get exposed. Playing in the Georgia Dome is never easy and the Patriots usually have to rely on winning shootouts when they are faced with an aggressive aerial assault. Factor in that Tom Terrific is without Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and even his reliable outlet in the backfield Shane Vereen. All those players are nursing injuries and will be shelved for at least the next few weeks with Vereen not expected back until Week 11.

However (you knew it was coming), the Pats will win this one because his young receivers are beginning to understand the nuances of a Brady led offense. It was demonstrated by their performance last week when their route would be broken but they looked for an open space and Brady found them. That’s the difference between the elite QB’s and all the rest. They will find you if you keep moving.

Finally, expect Belichick to run blitzes and use double coverage on Julio Jones. Five man fronts will be commonplace on Sunday in order to pressure Ryan into hurried throws and costly mistakes. Look for the Patriots to walk away with a W in this one for your NFL Picks.

Free NFL Picks: Play New England +2 ½ (but by the hook to get 3) at Bet365.com