If someone had been quarantined the last couple years, was now just emerging to learn about the current state of the National Football League, and found out Tom Brady won the Super Bowl last February and the New England Patriots have scored the most points in the league over the past six weeks, they’d figure nothing was new.
Of course, you know, it is.
Brady did win the Super Bowl last season but he is currently riding a two game losing streak with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots success is not pinned to his play. Rather, while Brady appears overmatched to repeat as a champion with Tampa Bay, the Patriots are under the guidance of a first-year quarterback not only in the running for rookie of the year but Most Valuable Player, Mac Jones.
There is always a learning curve to an athlete making the transition from college to the NFL, but it appears Jones got all the grooming he needed in his first four professional games. He lost his first game, to the Miami Dolphins in front of his hometown fans, and after a win over the New York Jets in second week action, lost two more times before winning his second game, a narrow decision over the pitiful Houston Texans.
So far, nothing to write home about.
Then, Jones was instrumental in leading the Patriots to a highly competitive overtime loss against the NFC East Division leading Dallas Cowboys, and he and New England haven’t lost since. They have outscored their past two opponents, the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns, by a combined score of 69-13.
During their four game winning streak, Jones has posted numbers like the ones Dan Marino put up early in his career with the Miami Dolphins. In a return engagement against the Jets, he tallied 54 points and last week he put up 45 against the seemingly overmatched Browns.
Tonight, Jones is on the road in search of a fifth straight win as New England has pulled to within one-half game of the AFC East Division leading Buffalo Bills.
Thursday night games often have lines that add weight to the home team’s chances for a win. Road teams on Thursday night are working on a short work week and are forced to use one of their day’s that could be used in preparation for travel.
But, in tonight’s game, the Patriots are favored by a bloated line and enter this contest with their highest point spread price of the season as illustrated on the table available on this site.
Because the Atlanta Falcons got blown out last Sunday in Dallas by a 43-3 count. The public has a tendency to weigh last week’s games over all that came before and, most importantly, what those prior results lend as a most likely result this week. They did that last week with the Falcons too. Two weeks ago Atlanta upset the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome and on the same day the Cowboys got blown out on their home field by the Denver Broncos, 30-16.
Those results generated the betting public backing the Falcons last Sunday against the Cowboys, and Dallas got the easy win while each team reversed their prior week’s result.
Same goes for tonight.
That is, a reversal of last week’s results.
The Falcons are perfectly primed for a big effort off their lopsided loss, while Jones and company are in store for a dose of reality for the rookie quarterback.
Qoxhi Picks: Atlanta Falcons (+6½) over New England Patriots