Seven times previously the Super Bowl combatants of one season have met the following season. The defending Super Bowl champions own the edge, winning five of seven rematches outright, going 5-2 against the spread. Might that bode well for the Patriots heading into Sunday night’s rematch with the Falcons in Foxboro (8:30 pm ET, NBC)?
Most of this week’s NFL betting market opened New England at -4, with an over/under of right around 54. As of early Sunday AM most shops had dropped the Patriots to -3, and bumped the total to 56.
Atlanta (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) began this season with three straight wins, but has now lost two straight, after falling at home last week to Miami 20-17. The Falcons actually led the Dolphins 17-0 well into the third quarter, but went cold, gave up 20 straight points and had a late drive killed by a Matt Ryan interception.
On the day Atlanta outgained Miami 339-289, but a missed field goal, a botched punt and one crucial turnover proved too costly to overcome.
Two weeks ago the Falcons lost to Buffalo 23-17 despite outgaining the Bills 389-281. But they gave up a touchdown on a fumble return. So Atlanta has lost back-to-back games it coulda/shoulda won.
New England (4-2, 2-4) meanwhile, has won two in a row, including a 24-17 decision over the Jets last week in New Jersey. The Patriots spotted New York 14 early points, then scored the game’s next 24 to take the lead and hung on from there. They did get fortunate on that controversial Jets fumble at the pylon, but it was actually a great play by a couple of New England defensive backs to force that fumble.
On the day the Patriots got outgained by the Jets 408-375, although they won the ground battle 118-74.
Two weeks ago New England outrushed Tampa 113-90 in a 19-14 victory.
Unders are 3-2 in Falcons games this season, which have averaged 46 total points.
Overs are 4-2 in Patriots games, which have averaged 55 points.
By the Numbers
Atlanta ranks fifth in the league in total offense this season at 378 yards per game, 11th in rushing at 121 YPG. The Falcons also rank 10th in total defense, allowing 312 YPG, and 13th against the run, giving up 102 YPG.
New England leads the league in offense at 412 YPG, and ranks 19th in rushing at 102 YPG. But the Patriots also rank dead last in total defense, allowing 441 YPG, and 21st against the run, giving up 116 YPG.
Free NFL Picks
Atlanta had New England down in the Super Bowl 28-3 before chocking it all away. The Falcons probably won’t lead by that much at any time Sunday night, but there is a good case to be made they’re the better team in this match-up. We’re taking Atlanta here.
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