The game we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The one that everybody circled on their calendars before the season started. The rematch of Super Bowl 51. Pats and Falcons. A chance for redemption and revenge for Atlanta. A chance for New England to prove who the alpha-team really is. Not only that, but this could be the turning point in the season for the Pats. A win could send them on their way with momentum toward ring #6. A loss could spell doom for a team trying to tread water right above .500.
This might be their most formidable matchup so far this season. Everyone knows that these two teams are capable of putting together fireworks when they play eachother, and that might just happen this Sunday night. The key to this game for the Patriots is to control the clock. That is something that since the Super Bowl, we have all learned the Falcons are horrendous at. Everyone knows whats in the arsenal. Amendola and White in the short game, Cooks and Hogan for big plays, Gronk to be Gronk. However, a heavy dosage of Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee would be exactly what the Pats need to stay in control of this game. And with a lack of Vic Beasley and a mediocre linebacking corp. that is more than possible. The lack of Beasley also makes things look promising for keeping Brady upright, in what has been a challenge so far this season.
The best defense for the Patriots will be keeping the Falcons offense off the field as long as possible. Freeman and Coleman have been up to their old ways, absolutely tearing up defenses as they always have. This has also been the biggest struggle for the Patriots, is covering backs who catch the ball. The tough part is, as soon as you pay too much attention to them, Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel, and Mohamed Sanu can beat you over the top. This might be the biggest challenge for a very banged up Patriots secondary. Its safe to say we will see Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon with their hands full over the top, as Matt Ryan is still capable of slinging that thing. The key will be pressure, pressure, and pressure Matt Ryan to disrupt his rhythm. However, Jones has struggled this season and has still yet to reach the end zone. The thing all Patriots fans can hope for is that his struggles continue through this week. The last thing we need is for this to be his breakout game.
As nice as it would be to control this game, expect a back and forth shootout, and maybe this time the Falcons will only blow a 24 point lead. They’ve become so accustomed to it their fans seem like their expecting it at this point. All 12 of them that can name a player from 2004 that isn’t named Michael Vick that is. This game is really a toss up, but this season has been so unpredictable, that I cannot predict a Patriots L. Gostkowski will return to the map as one of the best clutch kickers by hitting a game winner in this one. 34-31 Patriots.
Written By: Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)