By: Aaron Laskowitz
Three weeks into the season, the Patriots record holding mighty strong but that reflects nothing upon the team’s situation. New England started the season with debatably the three easiest games in the NFL and barely pulled off two of them. The Patriots narrowly escaped from the Bills as Gostkowski kicked one through the uprights as time expired. That type of play must come to a halt as the Patriots tune it up a few notches as they play some actual competitors.
The Patriots travel to Atlanta this Sunday to take on Matt Ryan and his Falcons. This will be Brady’s first of three Sunday Night Football games this season. New England went 1-2 last season when playing Sunday Night. Half of the Patriots 2012 season losses came from Sunday Night Football games. Fair enough to say that to be a Sunday Night game the Patriots must be playing a good opponent, making it easier for them to be defeated. But nevertheless, this could come across as a bad omen! The last time Brady faced off against the Falcons was in 2009 when the Patriots defeated Atlanta 26-10.
With the Falcons starting the season 1-2 they certainly are hungry for a win and can’t afford a loss in their own house. The Patriots need to take care of two things in order to win the game. The first thing is to take care of the passing game in the first half. The Patriots defensive line needs to get to Ryan and force a few three and outs. Matt Ryan completes twenty percent more of his passes when playing in the first half. The Falcons will look to run the ball in the second half if the Patriots play successfully. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers got to see a lot of handoffs in last week’s game against Miami and look to see the same this week.
The second and final key to the Patriots getting the W is for the rushing game to be successful. Stevan Ridley is still yet without a touchdown as he has seen his time on the field slowly decreasing since his “fumble crazy” game. Aside from Ridley there still hasn’t been a single touchdown scored by New England’s rush game. If this does not change soon the Patriots will never win a game against a strong football team.