Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 4 AFC East game picks: Patriots at Falcons

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the cross-conference battle between New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

Dan's take:
Tom Brady gained some rhythm with his young receivers in their win last week, while the Falcons struggled to score in the second half of their eventual loss against the Dolphins. The defensive secondaries will be in the spotlight in this one, with the Aqib Talib-led Pats squad looking for continued pressure and subsequent turnovers. Atlanta's defense has allowed nearly 300 yards per game against the pass.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Falcons 21

Sean's take:
A trip to Atlanta this week raises the bar for the Patriots, who've compiled a 3-0 record playing less-than-stellar ball against lesser competition. Particularly, the vaunted Falcons passing attack will provide the first real test for the sixth-ranked New England pass defense. Atlanta's offense proves to be too much, and the Patriots aren't able to solve their offensive issues in a hostile road environment and drop to 3-1.
Prediction: Falcons 30, Patriots 18

Nick's take:
The Patriots have had the least efficient red zone offense through three games. It can't get any worse, and they're still 3-0. Brady seems to be finally settling in with his young pass-catching corps, and that chemistry continues to build Sunday. New England's secondary will have its hands full against the trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, but the Patriots do enough up front to keep Matt Ryan from going wild.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Falcons 24