The Patriots are in Atlanta (the site of their Super Bowl LIII victory over the Rams) to take on the Falcons (who they beat in Super Bowl LI, which … of course you remember) on Thursday Night Football.
New England will look to extend its win streak to five games over the 4-5 Falcons.
We’ll be tracking the game live, providing analysis and updates throughout. Follow along below.
Antonio Brown reportedly secured a fake COVID vaccination card — 7:31 p.m.
Antonio Brown obtained a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, according to his personal chef, the Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday.
Steven Ruiz said Brown’s girlfriend contacted Ruiz over the summer to obtain a card saying he had received the Johnson & Johnson shot. According to text messages provided by Ruiz, Brown’s girlfriend, Cydney Moreau, offered $500 for a fake card.
Ruiz said he was unable to acquire it but Brown revealed cards for him and Moreau he said he had purchased.
Brown’s lawyer denied the claims.
Do you believe in coincidences? — 7:13 p.m.
Patterson out for Falcons — 7:01 p.m.
Cordarrelle Patterson is among the inactives tonight for Atlanta.
No big surprises among Pats’ inactives — 7:01 p.m.
The following Patriots’ players are inactive for tonight’s game:
•Quarterback Jarrett Stidham is a healthy scratch in his second game back after being activated earlier this month. (Just a guess here but the long-term thinking with Stidham is that he is being groomed as the No. 2 quarterback for next year.)
•Running back J.J. Taylor has been on and off the game day roster all season, but he’ll sit this evening against the Falcons. The fact that he’s down for tonight’s game suggests New England feels good about the health of some of their other running backs — namely, Damien Harris.
•Tight end Devin Asiasi was active for the first time this season last week against the Browns and played 12 snaps. Like Taylor, the fact that Asiasi is taking a healthy scratch suggests that the health of the other tight ends — particularly Jonnu Smith, who missed last week’s game against Cleveland — has improved.
•Defensive end Ronnie Perkins maintains his healthy scratch streak, and becomes the clear leader for the Trey Flowers Rookie Redshirt Award.
•Offensive lineman Yasir Durant is another healthy scratch, but like tight end and running back, New England is feeling good enough at a pair of positions where they had health and depth issues earlier in the season. That means Durant will take a seat for tonight’s game against the Falcons.
Coraderrelle Patterson was one of my favorite players to cover — 6:54 p.m.
Cordarrelle Patterson — who is questionable for tonight’s game for the Falcons — was in New England for just one season (2018), but in that time, he became one of my all-time favorite quotes.
I remember asking him about his game against Green Bay when he ran for 61 yards–after rushing for 38 the week before.
Q: “Where do you think you’ve improved on from last week to this week as a running back?”
A: (waits a beat, considers the question) “Probably yards. Yards.”
During a late-season win over the Jets that year, he got into it with New York defensive lineman Henry Anderson. (Check out my postgame exchange with him in the locker room here.) And after he told me, “We couldn’t have done it without you” in the locker room after Super Bowl LIII, I asked him about Julian Edelman’s MVP performance.
“Listen, nobody can [expletive] with Jules in the slot, man. Nobody.”
In my experience, he’s a pretty good guy as well, signing autographs and playing catch with kids in the stands before games. But yeah, every reporter should get a chance to cover a team that has someone like Patterson on the roster.
Predict the game — 6:36 p.m.
Can Pats cover against Atlanta? — 6:34 p.m.
Gambling-wise, this game is all over the map, as the Patriots have been favored by anywhere between 3.5 and 7 points over the course of the last few days. Thursday night games are always a tough call — home teams are usually a pretty solid straight-up bet — but given the state of the Falcons (no Ridley and maybe no Cordarrelle Patterson), I’m still willing to say New England wins and covers. It’s not a blowout like the last two weeks, but it’ll still be enough to get a win in a game where it’ll be all about getting in, getting out, and not getting hurt. The over/under is set at 47, and on a fast track indoors with a New England offense that is really clicking right now, I’m willing to go over.
Here are a few quick notes, courtesy of our friends at Odds Shark:
- New England is 4-1 against the spread in their last 5 games.
- The total has gone over in 5 of New England’s last 6 games.
- New England is 4-2 against the spread in their last 6 games when playing on the road against Atlanta.
- The total has gone over in 4 of Atlanta’s last 6 games.
- The total has gone over in 8 of Atlanta’s last 11 games against an opponent in the AFC East.
- Atlanta is 2-8 straight up in their last 10 games when playing as the underdog.
Our team is on the scene — 6:24 p.m.
Numbers to keep an eye on tonight — 6:16 p.m.
•J.C. Jackson is tied with Asante Samuel for 11th in team history with 22 career interceptions. With one more pick, he’ll move into sole possession of 10th place on the Patriots all-time interception list.
•Mac Jones has a 4-0 road record to start his NFL career. He is the first rookie QB to win his first four road games since Dak Prescott in 2016. The most consecutive road wins to start a season by a rookie QB is six by Roethlisberger (2004) and Prescott.Get Point AfterDelivering exclusive analysis and commentary on the Patriots and the NFL right to your inbox, three times a week during the season.Enter EmailSign Up
Matthew Slater will play in his 200th career regular season game this week against Atlanta. He will be the fifth Patriots player to reach 200 regular season games, joining Tom Brady (285), Bruce Armstrong (212), Julius Adams (206) and Stephen Gostkowski (204).
•WR Jakobi Meyers completed two passes for 45 yards in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. The Patriots have never had a wide receiver complete more than two passes in a single season. The most passes thrown by a non quarterback in a single season for the Patriots were by RB Andy Johnson, who was 7-of-9 for 194 yards with four touchdowns in 1981 and RB Dick Christy, who was 6-of-11 for 94 yards with two touchdowns in 1960.
•Devin McCourty has 29 career regular season interceptions, tied for third all-time in team history, behind Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn, with 36 interceptions. He needs one more interception to become the third Patriots player with 30 career interceptions.
•Matthew Judon leads the Patriots with 9½ sacks, tying his record for most sacks in a season that he had in 2019 with Baltimore. The last time the Pats had a player reach double digits in sacks was Chandler Jones with 12½ in 2015.
Pregame reading list — 6:05 p.m.
The best way to get ready for tonight’s action:
Patriots vs. Falcons — 6:00 p.m.
Welcome back to football, and a Thursday night showdown between the Patriots and Falcons. New England (6-4) is looking to win its fifth straight, while Atlanta (5-5) is hoping to distinguish itself in the NFC playoff race. We’ll have all the updates you need, all night long, so keep it here. CUE THE BELLS.
Sign up for Patriots updates🏈
Get breaking news and analysis delivered to your inbox during football season.