In one of the more exciting games, the New England Patriots travel south to take on the Atlanta Falcons. Many Fantasy owners love to have a player or two playing on Sunday night just in case they need to play catch up. However, there could be as many as seven or eight players starting for owners in this game.
The Patriots have two fourth-quarter comebacks and sit atop the AFC East at 3-0. The Falcons are 1-2, losing to the two teams playing on Monday night. There is definitely more pressure for the Falcons to win here and not fall to 1-3. All but two ESPN analysts are picking the Falcons. With that being said, here are my predictions for the Sunday night game.
With injuries to teammates, Tom Brady isn’t the same quarterback. He is ranked 21st in Fantasy points among quarterbacks. He has yet to throw for 300 yards this year, something he did only seven times last year.
This is a favorable matchup. The Falcons are one of the worst pass defenses, allowing multiple touchdowns in all three games and 296 passing yards per game. Expect Brady to get back to normal on Sunday night.
Prediction: 25-of-40, 305 yards, two TDs (20 points)
Matt Ryan has proved to be consistent. He has multiple touchdowns in seven of his past eight games, including playoffs. He is ranked eight among quarterbacks this season.
The Patriots are not known for having a good defense, but that has changed over the last couple of years. They have held opponents to just 11.3 points per game, but could have a difficult time in the Georgia Dome. Ryan played flawless ball in their only home game this year.
Prediction: 20-of-38, 278 yards, two TDs, one INT (17 points)
Stevan Ridley is losing carries to LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden. I mentioned in my Week 4 Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em that Ridley should be benched. Blount and Bolden have 28 carries for 142 yards this season.
Ridley will not put up No. 2 running back numbers. The Falcons are the fifth-best rush defense and Ridley has a lowly 3.4 yards per carry. But, the Patriots have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season, so Ridley could sneak one in.
Prediction: Ridley — 12 carries, 55 yards, one TD (11 points); Blount — eight carries, 22 yards (two points); Bolden — six carries, 31 yards (three points)
Steven Jackson had a good first game, 122 total yards on 16 touches. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers have filled in since Jackson went down with an injury. The two are sharing the carries at an almost 50-50 split (43-36 in favor of Rodgers) and Rodgers is the more productive of the two.
Both backs are viable flex plays this week, getting you anywhere from six to eight points. Snelling does have two touchdowns in the red zone. Rodgers does have the skills to break out a long run.
Prediction: Rodgers — 11 carries, 52 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards (six points) ; Snelling — nine carres, 46 rushing yards, 23 receiving yards (six points)
Gronkowski is possibly one week away from returning. Amendola is still recovering. This leaves Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins to catch passes from Brady. Since having an explosive Week 1, Edelman has 122 yards and no touchdowns in two weeks.
Thompkins broke out last week with 41 yards and two touchdowns. Dobson and Brady looked to be more in sync in Week 3, seven catches on 10 targets, but he can’t keep up that kind of production.
Prediction: Edelman — six receptions, 77 yards, one TD (13 points); Thompkins — eight receptions, 80 yards, one TD (14 points); Dobson — four receptions, 60 yards (six points)
Julio Jones has been one of the best this season, ranked second with 46 points. He leads with 373 receiving yards. Ryan and Jones will be a combination unlike any other they have faced. Expect big things this week.
Tony Gonzalez has only 93 yards and a touchdown so far. However, this shouldn’t be surprising as Gonzalez had nine games with fewer than six Fantasy points. That streak will end today. The Falcons will spread the field with Jones, allowing Gonzalez to catch the short and red-zone passes.
Prediction: Jones — 12 receptions, 102 yards, one TD (16 points); Gonzalez — four receptions, 46 yards, one TD (10 points)