The New England Patriots (6-4) head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on the Atlanta Falcons (4-5) tonight on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 11. Don’t look now, but the Patriots are a half-game out of Buffalo’s 6-3 AFC East-leading record. Just one week removed from a 45-7 beatdown of the Cleveland Browns, can the Patriots keep the momentum going against an up-and-down Falcons squad? Here’s the start time, channel, and live streams for tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup, as well as a preview and prediction.
What channel is Thursday Night Football on tonight?
- Channel: FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video
- Time: 8:15 PM ET
- Live streams:
- NFL Mobile App
- YouTube TV
What to expect from tonight’s Patriots vs. Falcons game?
After a 2-4 start to the 2021 NFL season, playoff aspirations were starting to get questioned in Foxborough. However, New England is riding a four-game win streak pushing that record to 6-4 and threatening the Bills for first in the AFC East.
While some franchises are starting to fall apart, the Patriots are surging. A hallmark sign of a contender is beating bad teams. Can head coach Bill Belichick check that box and extend this streak to five games tonight on Thursday Night Football?
Patriots defense continues to roll tonight in Thursday Night Football
QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense have an arduous task at home tonight. Their Thursday Night Football matchup features a defense that has intercepted the second-most passes in the league and allowed an average of 12.5 points to opponents in the previous four games. Not great news for a team that mustered just 3 points against the Dallas Cowboys.
Last week, New England held Cleveland to 218 total yards of offense and sacked the QB 5 times. This coming just one week after the Browns’ offense exploded in Week 9 against the Bengals. While that was going on, the Patriots were busy shutting down the Panthers’ offense — holding them to just 2 field goals. QB Sam Darnold was intercepted 3 times and RB Christian McCaffrey was held to 52 yards rushing.
The Patriots’ passing defense currently ranks in the top 10 of the league and their attack against the rush isn’t far behind. Despite the rough start to the season, New England has only allowed 17.7 points per game this season. The Falcons have scored 25+ points in just four games this season, and that number should not change tonight after Thursday Night Football.
New England QB Mac Jones is growing every week
One of the bigger issues to start the season for the Patriots was rookie QB Mac Jones adjusting to the NFL game. New England failed to reach 20 points in three of its first six games. The offense has turned a corner, though, and despite being just a game manager for most of the season, Jones is starting to break through that ceiling as well.
Jones was 19 of 23 for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Browns in Week 10. While the yardage numbers won’t pop off the page, Jones is playing smart football and doing what matters — scoring. Jones has thrown 6 touchdowns during the Patriots’ win streak, but more importantly, he’s only had 1 pass intercepted in that time.
While Atlanta’s offensive ineptitude was on full display against the Cowboys in Week 10, so were the issues on defense as the Cowboys’ offense scored 37 points. Going with the popular pick has come back to bite me the past few weeks, but again this one is too hard to talk myself out of.
Belichick has his defense primed and ready to pounce on a weak Atlanta offense, and Jones continues to improve upon his command of the Patriots’ offense. Given the state of the AFC and how things look in New England, they can begin to massively shift the narrative in their favor with a dominant win tonight on Thursday Night Football.
Prediction: Patriots 38, Falcons 16
Thursday Night Football Schedule: September
- Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – September 9
- Final: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 29
- New York Giants at Washington Football Team – September 16
- Final: Washington 30, Giants 29
- Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans – September 23
- Final: Panthers 24, Texans 9
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals – September 30
- Final: Bengals 24, Jaguars 21
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks – October 7
- Final: Rams 26, Seattle 17
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles – October 14
- Final: Buccaneers 28, Eagles 22
- Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns – October 21
- Final: Browns 17, Broncos 14
- Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals – October 28
- Final: Packers 24, Cardinals 21
- New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts – November 4
- Final: Colts 45, Jets 30
- Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins – November 11
- Final: Dolphins 22, Ravens 10
- New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons – November 18
- Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints – November 25
- Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints – December 2
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings – December 9
- Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers – December 16
- San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans – December 23