In Atlanta’s single primetime game, the Falcons and Patriots square off tonight on Thursday Night Football, called by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. New England is one of the hottest teams in the league, coming off a statement win over the Browns. The Falcons have the advantage of being at home on a short week, but they can’t rely on just that.
Atlanta has to get their offense going through their stars. Bill Belichick has complimented the Falcons’ recent fourth overall pick, Kyle Pitts, by calling him an eventual record-breaker and a cross between Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez — high praise from one of the greatest coaches of all time. I would expect Belichick’s patented bracket/combo coverage on Pitts, trying to effectively eliminate him from the game. Atlanta will need to rely on Russell Gage and some others, which doesn’t spark much confidence.
The Patriots are playing efficient, bully-ball on the offensive side of the ball while playing sound, physical defense on the other. Belichick will surely have his team ready, but the Falcons are at home and coming off one of the most embarrassing losses in recent memory. Atlanta will have to jump out to an early lead because if Belichick and Mac Jones can get ahead, the game might as well be over, outside of a heroic performance from Matty Ice.
What will be even worse for an already thin Falcons team is they could be without their gadget star on offense in Cordarrelle Patterson. Jalyinn Hawkins is also questionable, as both suffered ankle injuries in the loss to Dallas. Even though Patterson has a more noticeable impact on the game, losing Hawkins would be crushing as well. He’s essentially been a starter for many weeks, a reliable one at that.
Hayden Hurst, Kendall Sheffield, and Darren Bates have all been listed as out, which completes the Falcons injury report. The Patriots have a bevy of questionable players; below is the complete injury report for both teams.
No Players Listed.
No Players Listed.
P Jake Bailey, Right Knee (LP)
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, Ribs (LP)
RB Brandon Bolden, Hip (LP)
OT Trent Brown, Calf (LP)
S Kyle Dugger, Ankle (LP)
K Nick Folk, Left Knee (LP)
WR N’Keal Harry, Knee (LP)
LB Dont’a Hightower, Ankle (LP)
G Shaq Mason, Abdomen (LP)
CB Jalen Mills, Forearm (LP)
TE Jonnu Smith, Shoulder (LP)
LB Kyle Van Noy, Groin (LP)
DE Deatrich Wise Jr., Illness (LP)