The Patriots play their first rematch against the Falcons Sunday night. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn acknowledged the topic has come up on a few occasions since his team trudged off the field in Houston.
MAKING IMPROVEMENTS: The Patriots enter Sunday coming off back-to-back wins, but they have hardly looked like the defending Super Bowl champions. It might not linger as long, but it can’t feel good. “And we know we have to keep driving”. It will be interesting to see how the defense makes changes to be able to slow down their offense and if they can they will win this game.
Neither team has impressed to this point, but the Patriots rarely lose at Gillette Stadium so I’ll lay the field goal with New England.
The bad news is that there’s not just one thing you can point to – “The offensive line needs to be better”, for example – as the easy, obvious problem. The Falcons were ahead by 25 points and then allowed 31 unanswered points in a 34-28 overtime loss.
“This year is hard enough within itself”, Allen said. They haven’t dominated anyone like we expected and could struggle in this one.
“You’ll be ready for the Super Bowl”, Tom Brady Sr. recalled his son’s words during the middle of the season. “You’ve got to focus on the now”.
Other teams have gotten in on the trolling, with NFC South rival Tampa Bay getting into a social media joust with the Falcons by posting “We ain’t anxious ’bout nothing!” over a picture Vernon Hargreaves (No. 28) and Jameis Winston (No. 3) bumping fists. The Falcons rank 10th in total defense.
A beaten-up Tom Brady has completed 65.7 percent of his passes this season for a league-high 1,959 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions, and the two-time MVP will have to trump the reigning victor.
The running game has looked perhaps its best all season in the first half, with both Lewis and the returning Rex Burkhead easing the workload of Brady.
Jones shrugged when asked about having only one red-zone target this season. “And I’d have my bandana on and he’d say, ‘Oh mom, you look handsome”. That’s all that matters. We don’t get to replay (the Super Bowl). Lewis has 105 yards in the last two games, so he is heating up and clearly wants the ball as much as possible.
And it doesn’t appear that Brady’s late-career rushing renaissance should play a major factor in his timeline to achieve 1,000 rushing yards; he’s averaged just 3.9 rushing yards per game since the start of the 2014 season.