Atlanta faces New England in Week 7, and they’ll be hoping to buck the trend that started in last year’s Super Bowl loss.
Can they do it? And can the Falcons cover the +3 spread that they’re facing at our GTBets sportsbook? Find out as we discuss Atlanta’s inability to hold leads and preview the Falcons vs. Patriots.
Atlanta Blows Lead Against the Dolphins
Atlanta has led in the second half of all five of their games this year. They were able to keep these leads in the first three contests, although they were only narrow victories.
However, the last two games have seen the Falcons blow leads to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
The latter was particularly painful because Atlanta bolted out to a 17-0 halftime lead. This seemed like more than a comfortable margin against a team that had been struggling to put points on the board the last few weeks. But the Dolphins surprised everybody by erasing the 17-point deficit and coming back to win 20-17.
Coach Dan Quinn called the Week 6 loss “a tale of two haves” and said that he didn’t necessarily think the late-game struggles were due to “game management” issues. Instead, he believes that the team is playing not to mess up rather than to win when they get these leads.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a letdown. It’s not a case of like a letdown,” Quinn said when asked about the second-half struggles.
“Sometimes, and I’m not saying this is [the case], but you can over-try. I’m trying so hard not to foul up, and you’re not playing into your own self. We’ll look at everything. We looked at the four games that we had. We liked some closes that we had.”
What Happened in the Miami Game?
Following their trip to the Super Bowl last year, Atlanta is considered to be one of the NFC favorites again. But few would’ve predicted them to be sitting at just 3-2 thus far. Strangely enough, this is exact same record as the offensively challenged Dolphins have.
Speaking of which, last weekend’s collapse happened in three main areas for the Falcons. First off, they allowed a subpar Miami offense to score on five straight possessions in the second half. The offense was held scoreless because they were pushed around at the line of scrimmage. And then there was last year’s MVP Matt Ryan throwing the game-ending interception when the team was in field goal range.
It seems that the Falcons could make plenty of excuses after everything that went wrong. However, star receiver Julio Jones isn’t settling for excuses.
“Hats off to them today. They were the better team,” Jones said of the Dolphins. “But it’s on us. It’s a player-led team. We’ve got to find ways to win games. … We just have to go out there and finish the game.”
Atlanta vs. New England Odds
The Falcons will certainly be looking for revenge after blowing a 28-3 lead in 2016 Super Bowl. Of course, they’ll also be trying to play better in the second half.
“We’ve got to reset,” said safety Ricardo Allen. “It ain’t no other way. What you going to do, just lay down? There’s s— else you can do.
Linebacker Vic Beasley also added, “I feel like we have to have a short-term memory. We’ve got a big game coming up with New England, the Super Bowl rematch. If we want to go back to where we were last year, we’ve got to definitely win.”
Interestingly enough, New England is coming off another situation where they rallied to win against the New York Jets 27-24. Controversial calls aside, the Patriots were just as clutch in this game as they were last year’s Super Bowl.
It couldn’t be more fitting that Atlanta and New England meet this week, with the former trying to avoid second-half collapses and the latter still making plays down the stretch.
The Patriots certainly have the advantage based on the fact that they’re playing at home. And while they haven’t looked as good as last season, New England is still considered a Super Bowl contender.
That said, I look for them to cover -3 at Gillette Stadium. Here’s a look at the current line at GTBets:
- Atlanta +3 (+100), Over 55 (-110)
- New England -3 (-120), Under 55 (-110)