Despite going undefeated through the first three games of the season, no one is convinced that the New England Patriots are good enough with this kind of offensive arsenal to be a threat to the title contenders of the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons keep losing games they should be winning, an no one is quite sure what’s wrong.
The Patriots keep winning, yet no one is convinced. The weakness of their early opponents might have something to do with it, but it’s also about Tom Brady completing only 57.5% of his passes so far this season, and being devoid of offensive weapons to target except for Julian Edelman, leading the Patriots with 27 receptions for 201 yards and a couple of touchdowns.
Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkwoski remain on the injured list, which means Brady is facing another game in which he struggles with rookie and inexperienced or simply untalented receivers, which at some point is going to catch up with the Patriots, and rely on their running game which isn’t a great idea against the Falcons, who allow only 79 yards per game on the ground.
While the Falcons could live with the opening loss to the Saints in New Orleans, dropping a game to the Miami Dolphins was a lot less understandable. Matt Ryan is playing well, but not when it matters, as the Falcons have too many moments when the play conservative football and drop the lead, not having enough mental toughness and luck to come back when there isn’t enough time on the clock.
One problem for the Falcons has been injuries – Julio Jones is leading the NFL with 373 receiving yards so far on 27 catches, but he has a knee problem. Roddy White has been playing with a bum ankle all of this season, while Stephen Jackson is out for at least two more weeks, meaning the Falcons are going to rely on Jacquizz Rodgers, averaging only 3.3 yards per carry, and try to air it out against an improved New England secondary.
Prediction – The Patriots bring nothing special to the table offensively, and at some point, it’s going to catch up with them. The Falcons might be banged up, but they’re still talented enough on the offensive side of the ball to do well against a weakened New England team if Mike Smith stops making the wrong calls all of the time.