New England Patriots: 3 keys to beating the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots will play the Atlanta Falcons in a Week 11 game on November 18th at Atlanta, and the game is huge for both teams.

The Patriots at 6-4 have climbed back into not only playoff contention for a Wild Card berth but also have the Division title in their sights, as well.

Meanwhile, at 4-5, the Falcons may sit last in the NFC South but they are still in the thick of the fight to earn Wild Card spot themselves.

They currently sit 10th in the standings for a Wild Card game but are only a half-game off the pace for seventh. This is a must-win for both to meet their playoff aspirations.

New England Patriots 3 keys to beating the Atlanta Falcons

The first key for the New England Patriots will be for the Patriots’ excellent defense to hogtie the Falcons’ passing game led by excellent quarterback Matt Ryan.

The former Boston College star is no slouch. He has completed 67.7 percent of his passes this season with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

That means the Patriots need to sustain the great pass-rush that they have exhibited in the past several games, including their demolition of the Cleveland Browns in Week 10.

With Matt Judon who’s having an All-Pro level season terrorizing from the edge and Christian Barmore collapsing pockets, it could be a very long day for Ryan.

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His best receiver is the rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who has hauled in 40 catches for 606 yards and a touchdown.

Next on the list is former Patriot Cordarrelle Patterson with 39 catches for 473 yards and five touchdowns. He’s big, fast, and dangerous.

Patterson will be a game-time decision for this one due to an ankle injury. If he does end up playing, he’s a multi-purpose threat who will prove to be a challenge for the New England secondary led by star cornerback J.C. Jackson.

The Falcons’ rushing game is less of a threat, so expect head coach Bill Belichick to load up on stopping Ryan and his passing game.

The New England Patriots second key is keeping Mac Jones clean in the pocket

Mac Jones shredded the Cleveland Browns in Week 10 with a sterling performance, completing 82.6 percent of his passes with three touchdowns.

The return of mammoth in size and extraordinary in talent, Trent Brown, certainly helped. Brown is a mountain and he dominated the Browns on the right side of the offensive line.

He should be playing left tackle but that’s another story. Whichever side he plays on he will dominate if healthy and recovered from his calf injury.

The rest of the line is mostly solid and if they keep Jones’ pocket clean he will rip the Falcons defense apart.

The Falcons only have only 11 sacks on the year, while Matt Judon has 9.5 himself. They also have only three interceptions while Patriots ace cornerback, J. C. Jackson, has five himself.

This should be an opportunity for Jones and his receivers to fatten up their stats. Jones and company should be able to feast on a Falcons team that should be ripe for the plucking.

The New England Patriots third key is running the ball effectively

Anyone can clearly say this every week of the season. If you can run the ball, control the clock, grind down the opposing defenders, and set up the pass, you’re going to win most of the time.

This Week 11 game on a short week for both teams is no different. The Falcons were shellacked by the Dallas Cowboys last week, losing by a score of 43-3. The Patriots walloped Cleveland 45-7. Now Atlanta has to game-plan to face a Patriots team that is locked in and scoring points in bunches.

The red, white, blue, and silver are playing their best football of the season and seem ready to use their multi-faceted offense to outfox, outgun, and outscore anyone.

It all starts with the run. If successful early, with the likely returning Damien Harris and the breakout star against Cleveland on the ground, Rhamondre Stevenson, carrying the rock to set up the pass, it could be a very long night for the Falcons.

Those are three keys to beating the Falcons in Week 11. A win would put the Patriots at 7-4, a good spot to be in with a 10-day break to rest, recuperate, and prepare.

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And they’d better do all of that since they have to face the high-flying Tennessee Titans who are 8-2 next followed by the very tough Buffalo Bills. The Titans are also on top of the AFC South and they have the best record in the AFC right now.

The New England Patriots can’t afford to look past any team. They need this win against Atlanta to keep their forward momentum going and its first things first in the NFL.

We’ll see how they react after the short week. Hopefully, it will be with another W.