This may sound crazy to you, but the New England Patriots could be one of the top three teams in the National Football League right now. The Pats opened their season with a disappointing loss to the Miami Dolphins, as they were breaking in a new quarterback.
But they've come a long way since then. New England is the possessor of a four-game winning streak, and it could have easily been six (with narrow losses to Dallas and Tampa Bay). And that quarterback might be on his way to the Rookie of the Year award. BetAnySports customers need to recognize this as they approach their NFL betting for Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The kickoff is set for 8:20 PM ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and you can see it on NFL Network, Fox Network and Amazon Prime. And while that's happening, you can stay involved in the action with real-time wagering through Super Lines, Premier Lines and Ultimate Lines.
Of course, before the game begins, reduced juice gives you a lot of value and helps you save money over the course of time.
The Patriots are a half-game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East with their 6-4 record (both SU and ATS). The analytics site Five Thirty-Eight has figured that they have a 68% chance to make the playoffs. And remember, there are three wild card teams.
Mac Jones is a big part of this story. What he's done in terms of sheer numbers does not necessarily blow people's doors off - 13 TD's and 7 INT's, with 2333 yards. His poise in the pocket and decision-making are what have won over most people. He threw for 198 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 45-7 win over Cleveland, and he made some picture-perfect throws.
Over time, coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have opened up more things in the playbook for him. But right now, he looks not only like the best rookie quarterback, but the best rookie overall.
Atlanta is liable to be in an ornery mood, having been throttled 43-3 by Dallas last week.
So one might ask how Matt Ryan has adapted to the offensive philosophies brought in by first-year head coach Arthur Smith. If there was a grade, it might be "incomplete."
That's because they not only said goodbye to Julio Jones in the off-season, they have now lost Calvin Ridley, whose departure is a little different, in that he has taken a leave from football to address his mental health. Tight end Kyle Pitts, the first-round pick out of Florida, got off to a slow start, although he has shown flashes of brilliance, and Belichick believes he is a superstar-level talent already.
The Falcons were faced with the absence of a running game, so they actually transitioned a wide receiver (Cordarelle Patterson) to the backfield. So it has been an adjustment, to be certain. Ryan's average depth of target is only seven yards, and that falls below short-armers like Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Siemian. His yards-per-attempt figure is his lowest since 2013.
And that might play right into the Pats' wheelhouse. They are seventh in the NFL in allowing just 6.8 yards per attempt. And the QB rating of opposing signal-callers is 84.0, which is second best.
And things might be more difficult for Ryan if Patterson can't play; he is a game-time decision with a high-ankle sprain.
New England will go with its usual formula, which is to run the ball first and go from there. With Damian Harris not available, much of it will be in the hands of Rhomandre Stevenson, a rookie who averaged 7.2 yards a carry last year at Oklahoma and had his first 100-yard game against Cleveland.
Ryan isn't going down the field. At the same time, he's bound to improve upon his 9-for-21 with two INT's he had vs. Dallas, before he was mercifully relieved by Josh Rosen. How much he'll improve is another question.
I love New England and Jones and what they're doing. At the same time, knowing that the money is going their way, I wonder whether I'd be buying too high, based on last week's disparate results. But even though the Pats have been trending "over" lately, the under looks good because you can't look at Atlanta as anything but limited, and the Pats aren't going into "shootout" mode.
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