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Mike Tanier's Pats/falcons Preview


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Tanier is a very good football writer....give him the clicks:

http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/61850144/

Patriots at Falcons

8:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Line: Falcons by 1

Meaningful Week 4 NFL analysis requires us to ask four questions of each team:

  1. Who have you played?
  2. Who has been healthy?
  3. How have you won or lost?
  4. How has it been covered?

The last question is crucial. None of us are immune from magical TwinkleBrady or Fire Everybody storylines, and it is easy to forget that out-of-spotlight teams do the same things that buzzy teams do: endure injuries, win or lose on last second plays, cope with good and bad luck.

For the Patriots', the answers to the four questions are:

  1. Two teams with rookie quarterbacks who did not even have full training camps to prepare, and one whose quarterback is acting like he dreams of selling real estate three years from now.
  2. None of the Patriots' key receivers.
  3. Last minute field-goal drive against weak opponent, late defensive stand in pouring rain against weak opponent, slow-developing blowout of weak opponent.
  4. A mix of Chicken Little "dream has died" histrionics and magical TwinkleBrady, which is how every narrow Patriots victory since 2006 has been covered.

Here are the Falcons' answers:

  1. Two currently-undefeated teams on the road, both of whom took major steps to improve themselves in the offseason. Also, the compellingly awful (occasionally awfully compelling) Rams.
  2. Not Roddy White, even when he has played. Not Steven Jackson. Julio Jones has also played through injuries; both White and Jones took numerous snaps off against the Dolphins. Left tackle Sam Baker also missed the Dolphins game.
  3. Impressive final Falcons drive falls three-yards short versus Saints; basic weird Rams game; impressive final drive by the Dolphins does not come up short.
  4. No one covers the Falcons anymore because the whole Matt Ryan/Mike Smith/Deep Playoff Run routine of theirs is soooooo 2011.

After answering all four questions honestly, it is easy to see that the early-season differences between the Falcons and Patriots come down to the differences between a trip to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and a trip to Buffalo to face a rookie making his first start after 33 preseason passes, or facing the Dolphins when everything is clicking instead of the unclickable Buccaneers. Both the Patriots and Falcons are perennial playoff teams enduring skill-position injury crises. Play-for-play, the Falcons may be a little better than the Patriots; that would be a safer assertion if they could get through a special teams play without incident or penalty.

Week 4 analysis is tricky, especially with an all-pro tight end in "game-time decision" limbo. Sunday night should bring some equity, if not clarity.

Prediction: Falcons 24, Patriots 17

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Great read, thanks for posting it. Like the idea that who you have played is important in evaluating your record.

every time I discussed strength of opponent I was told strength of schedule didn't matter. Now it does? How convenient. Edited by bt12483
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every time I discussed strength of opponent I was told strength of schedule didn't matter. Now it does? How convenient.

No one ever said Strength of Schedule didn't matter. Everything "matters", nothing is "the end all be all" as you like to frame all of your discussions (case in point: your fixation with aDOT through 3 games as if its the central measure of a QBs ability)

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No one ever said Strength of Schedule didn't matter. Everything "matters", nothing is "the end all be all" as you like to frame all of your discussions (case in point: your fixation with aDOT through 3 games as if its the central measure of a QBs ability)

Ryan has low aDOT every year. This year is just particularly low.
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We're pretty much screwed this year no way around that with all the injuries. Ryan is having a great start to the season even with all the injuries and oline shuffles. Imagine how good Ryan would be behind a stable oline on a healthy team?

Regardless Pats are going to stomp us we won't have to wait till the 3rd qtr for the collapse Bellichick will not relent and will attack each and every part of our lineup that is not healthy.

Edited by MAD597
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