It’s hard to believe, but we are not into Week 11 of the 2021 NFL season. The playoff picture is starting to come into clearer shape, and teams are beginning to jockey for positioning.
Two such teams will be in action later this evening, as the New England Patriots pay a visit to the Atlanta Falcons on “Thursday Night Football.” New England is 6-4, a half-game back of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East and occupying sixth place in the AFC. Atlanta is just 4-5, but that record puts the Falcons within a half-game of the No. 7 seed in the conference.
Needless to say, both teams have to come away with a win to maintain the pace they want to be keeping. So, will the Patriots take care of business on the road, or will the Falcons pull off an upset in their own building? Let’s break down the matchup.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Nov. 18 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Georgia)
TV: Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Patriots -7, O/U 47
When the Patriots have the ball
Mac Jones made two outrageously good throws last week against the Browns (links right here and here) and he has unquestionably been the best of the rookie quarterbacks throughout this season, but I think the degree to which he’s succeeding is being somewhat exaggerated at this particular moment due to the fact that A. he is on the Patriots; and B. the Pats have won four consecutive games.
That’s not to say Jones isn’t playing well; he is. He’s just not necessarily been the driving force of New England’s success. And that’s okay, because he doesn’t need to be. Right now, all the Pats need him to do is not make mistakes, and to hit the right receiver with the right throw at the right time. They don’t yet need him to create things outside the structure of the offense, or lift the supporting cast all on his own. Most rookies can’t do that anyway, and because the…