If you’re optimistic about this game, I hope you’re rewarded for it. You won’t find too many optimists on the staff here on this short week, not with the Patriots coming to town after shredding the Chargers and Browns in recent weeks. The predictions roll on nonetheless, even if we have to hold our noses a bit, and one brave soul is all the way in on Atlanta pulling off the upset. See if you can guess who it is before you scroll down.
Give us your prediction after you check out ours.
Falcons 13 - Patriots 31
I’m hesitant to make this statement because there are many who will take it as an indictment of the team, the QB, the coaches, the GM and the owner. It’s not any of that. The reality, though, is this is a bad Falcons team. There’s an endless number of reasons why that includes (but is not limited to) the previous regime, injuries, missing players and so on. The net result is the same. This team appears to only be capable of scoring against average to mediocre defenses and this defense is nearly incapable of stopping anyone from scoring. Now they get to face a team with a top-7 scoring offense and one of the best scoring defenses in the league that’s also in the top-10 in sacks. It’s a terrible matchup across the board. If the Falcons stay competitive or somehow win this game, it will be a tremendous step forward and a complete shock. On paper, though, this one looks like another blowout in the making. - David Walker
Falcons 20 - Patriots 30
Besides the Saints, there is no team I would rather see the Falcons deal a loss to than the Patriots, for reasons that I hope are obvious. That’s why it’s particularly painful to predict a loss here, but it’s difficult to see a path to victory for the Falcons that doesn’t involve an improbable level of whole-team improvement. I’m keeping that flame of hope alive, but it’s also wise not to set yourself up to get hurt even worse than this team usually hurts us.
The Patriots will probably jump out to an early lead in this one, given recent history for the Falcons, but I do expect Atlanta to at least make a game of this one in a way they couldn’t against Dallas. Ultimately, I think the disparity between the talent and the play between these two teams suggests it won’t come down to the wire. - Dave Choate
Falcons 13 - Patriots 34
The Falcons have burned me out. I expected this team to remain inconsistent, but still show it has some juice even in losses. Even though I did not expect Atlanta to win, I expected a lot more than what we saw. After years of terrible play finishing off the Dan Quinn era, I thought this team may be past all the incompetence. I don’t even have the energy to break down Thursday’s game.
It is the Patriots while the Falcons are the remaining husk of a once competent team. I can’t even feel mad about the impending loss. I have no heart, I feel no love. Nor fear, nor joy, nor sorrow. I am hollow. - Matt Chambers
Falcons 27 - Patriots 24
The Falcons defy prediction this year. Just when you think they’ll zig, they zag in succession. Last week, we all thought they’d go down to Dallas and give the Cowboys a run for their money. Nope. This week, we get a red-hot New England Patriots team coming to Atlanta on a short week, a team the Falcons have never beaten before in franchise history. Why on Earth would I feel optimistic? It’s because this team doesn’t ever do what I think it will this season, which traditionally would be lose a game against a superior opponent. It would not surprise me one bit if Dean Pees is able to get under rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ skin and if Matt Ryan plays really well against a team he’s bound to feel desperate to beat at least once before he retires (for, y’know, obvious reasons). Even if Cordarrelle Patterson doesn’t play, I expect the team to bounce back and be competent after Dallas at the least, but I’ll go out on a limb to say they’ll shock us all and grab another Younghoe Koo winning field goal late to help pull off the upset against one of the better teams in the NFL right now. Why? It’s because this team makes no sense, and it’s time to just let go of trying to figure out what’s going to happen every week and just let it rip. Why can’t be New England’s trap game? Stranger things, uh, have happened. - Cory Woodroof