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What you need to know to watch Falcons vs. Patriots on Sunday Night Football

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Sunday Night Football, and the possibilities are endless for two struggling teams.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s safe to say a little shine has come off the Falcons-Patriots matchup, which before the season promised to be an awesome game and one pretty much every Atlanta fan would have circled on the calendar. Both teams have scuffled a bit for weeks now, and while both remain favorites in their respective divisions, neither looks like they’re going to get there via any kind of an easy road. That’s particularly true for the Falcons, who have a much more difficult division to contend with, at least thus far.

The Falcons’ offense hasn’t engendered much confidence in recent weeks, but this is the easiest matchup they’ve had all year. The Patriots have shown a remarkable inability to slow down opposing offenses that are not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they almost wound up heading to overtime with the New York Jets, who jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead last Sunday. I’m not optimistic about their chances of stopping Atlanta, even with the many confusing things going on offensively for the Falcons at the moment.

Unfortunately, this is also easily the stiffest test yet for this Falcons defense, and sloppiness could put them in a swift hole. Tom Brady is still playing well when he’s not being sacked, and the Pats can roll out a lot of weapons, including the impossible-to-cover Rob Gronkowski.

So it should be a high-scoring game, if all goes according to plan, and one the Falcons at least have a chance to win if they can stop shooting themselves in the foot. Here’s what you’ll need to watch it, if you can survive the week, stomach the story lines, and stay up late enough to do so.

Falcons vs. Patriots Week 7 key info

Time: 8:30 p.m. EST, Sunday, October 22

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Channel: NBC

Announcers: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth (noooo)

SB Nation Opponent Site: Pats Pulpit