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I’m not sure if you knew this but the crazy thing about this game – did you know it was a matchup of the two teams from the last Super Bowl? I wish that angle would’ve been pushed a little more on all the pregame shows so I would’ve known…
Well, this game was going to reveal the truth about both of these teams depending on the outcome…and now we have our answer. I should’ve known.
I went into this game leaning towards the side where Atlanta would use all the obvious motivations and exposing the Patriots’ weaknesses to win a big game here. That the win would help steady the Falcons sinking ship a little bit and would just be a further confirmation that the Patriots are good but not good enough to overcome all of their injuries, etc., to manhandle opponents like they used to.
I should’ve known.
The opposite of all that happened…and it’s a death blow for the Atlanta Falcons organization. It reveals to us what we all should’ve known coming with the New England Patriots – whatever seems broken will ultimately get fixed and the team will march towards greatness eventually. This game was a big step in that direction. They bludgeoned the Falcons from the opening whistle and pulled out their heart and showed it to their faces while it was still beating. It was a soul-crushing defeat.
Think of all the emotion Atlanta had to come into this game with – the demons of the Super Bowl loss. The hype of it all for the past week. Their ugly loss the prior week to Miami. So many ‘hits’ taken – but all of them could get magically swept away if they went in and took down a wounded Patriots team. Instead, they pretty much embarrass themselves in a huge spot.
This is the kind of loss/situation that is a team’s undoing. And I think the Falcons just got undone. There’s no recovery from this…there’s no recovery where this loss is used as a positive and suddenly the Falcons rise up to become a dominant team from here. This is the kind of loss where season ticket holders start selling some of their individual tickets on eBay and do something else on Sunday’s for a while. They start making other plans for January and February with no regard/worry that the team will be in the playoffs. Even if they somehow make it to the playoffs…everyone knows, including the players themselves, that they just aren’t good enough.
If the quarterback position is susceptible to swings in emotion effecting play – then I expect Matt Ryan to completely go in the tank from here. From MVP to one of the bottom-third of quarterbacks in the league in less than a year. It has to be hell to know you’re doing something you love and realize you’re never going to get any better than this. The Falcons have peaked. Matt Ryan has peaked (2016). Julio Jones has Peaked. Now there will be the obligatory, ugly reverberations from the fans as they all realize the same.
The Falcons are 3-3 with at NYJ, at CAR, Dallas, at SEA the next four games…if that rings up as 1-3, falling to 4-6, then it’s over. If they can pull a win out of a likely loss and go 2-2 in that stretch and climb to 5-5 they have a real shot with all four games against TB and NO to come in the division after Week 11. Atlanta is very much in it, on paper, but I fear this loss will have them ‘out of it’ for years.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I’m trading Julio Jones (9-99-1/13) off this hot game if I can leverage him into a deal where he’s respected as a top 5 type overall fantasy asset. This was another uninspired Julio performance bailed out by some late garbage throws and a TD ‘steal away’ at the very end…his first TD of the season. When this game mattered, Julio was a passer-by. I never see him open unless short crossing patterns.
If the Falcons passing game is crashing and burning then Julio will have a hard time living up to his name/perception for fantasy. He’s not a ‘dump’ he’s just a sell because of name/value inflation. He’s a WR2 in reality but trades to some like a top 5 in all of fantasy asset.
-- I’d rather have Brandin Cooks (4-65-1/5)…limited targets and all. Better upside for output and TDs. Using these two as an example, you’d try to get Cooks + a nice something for Julio…knowing you win/break even with the Cooks for Julio part straight up and whatever you add is a great move. Something worth your while to move off Julio. Again, he’s not dying he’s just way overpriced.
Cooks is becoming more and more ‘Brady’s guy’…as Gronk, Hogan and Amendola are tailing off. The last three weeks…
5.0 rec., 7.3 targets, 81.0 yards, 0.33 TDs per game = Cooks
4.3 rec., 7.0 targets, 54.7 yards, 0.33 TDs per game = Hogan
4.3 rec., 7.3 targets, 71.3 yards, 0.67 TDs per game = Gronk
4.7 rec., 5.7 targets, 44.7 yards, 0.00 TDs per game = Amendola
I can’t say ‘be a buyer’ on Cooks anymore because now everyone loves him. That was our message the last 3-4+ weeks. It’s over now.
I am a buyer on Chris Hogan – I think he’s the Davante Adams/2016 of 2017…the guy everyone disrespects/doesn’t believe in and yet scores 10-12 TDs working with an elite QB and pays WR2 dividends all year. Two bad weeks for Hogan due to getting nicked up, in part. Don’t pay a lot because Week 9 BYE and Week 10 vs. DEN is not useful, but great otherwise the rest of the season.
I could go either way on Danny Amendola (3-17-0/4). I’d like to hold him but I get wanting to move on. He was averaging 5.8 catches per game the first four games and tailed off big the last two weeks. He might be the odd man out…or a solid WR3 hopeful in PPR.
If Buffalo has E.J. Gaines back healthy with their two Buffalo games ahead…I don’t like the Bills matchup or the DEN matchup for Amendola. It’s probably wiser to cut bait/trade of his next 6-7 catch game and head for the hills.
-- All you can do is hold on to Tevin Coleman (6-16-0, 0-0-0/1) and hope Steve Sarkisian wises up or is fired (I think ‘fired’ is one more bad offensive performance away).
3.3 catches per game the first four games of the season…and then 1 target in each of his last two games. How does this happen? It happens when your offense goes from best in football 2016 to one of the worst…and the O-C is the thing that has changed.
He’s an RB3 cross-your-fingers start each week. Sadly.
-- I love Tom Brady (21-29 for 249 yards, 2 TD/0 INT) but I can’t have these last 3-4 weeks of performances consistently for the ROS.
TD passes in games the last four weeks: 2-1-2-2. Yards passing in his last two games: 257-249.
LAC Week 8 won’t be easy and Week 10 v. DEN is probably trouble, when the Broncos are motivated…as they will be. Buffalo Week 13 not great…Steelers Week 15 not great. Buffalo again Week 16 not great.
Brady is great, but I dunno about this schedule.
You need a QB for the Week 9 BYE…that QB better be ready for Weeks 10…and maybe 15?
Time to sell Brady really high? It seems inconceivable…but I’m starting to ponder it in redraft…and then I guess dynasty as well, to get out ahead of the collapse in the next year or two? Just thoughts at this stage.
-- It could be worse, you could have Matt Ryan (23-33 for 233 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) as your QB. 7 TDs/6 INTs in 6 games this season. 253.8 passing yards per game the last five games, no 300+ yard games in that span.
As Colin Cowherd has stated multiple times…Ryan is reverting back to his usual career performance. This isn’t getting any better, in theory…it is what it is.
-- I can’t trust Dion Lewis (13-76-0, 1-6-0/1), I mean…I know in a BYE week for the RB desperate against the bad run defense of the Chargers…but just when you think you have the Pats main RB figured out, Belichick zigs and zags in a different direction.
You could do worse this week, but a very tough schedule after their BYE any of the ‘runners’ for the Pats. A reason I ride with Brady – the Pats have a weak run game and face tougher run defense teams after the BYE.
-- How do the Patriots do it? Where did they pull 6th year CB Jonson Bademosi (7 tackles, 1 PD) from? The more I dusted off the history books, the more I realized how savvy this appears…
A 2012 UDFA CB out of Stanford.
6’1”/201, 4.39 40-time, 6.96 three-cone, 40.0” vertical…size and athleticism.
Was with Cleveland for four seasons through however many management changes. Was always a backup, but always was working special teams, etc.
In 2016, he wound up with Detroit…because the Moneyball group really knows what they’re doing in Cleveland.
Do you know how he got to New England from Detroit this year? The Patriots traded for him before roster finalization before opening day this season. Anyone remember that one? I didn’t. I’m sure I didn’t care. I do now.
*The last time the Pats traded for a ‘who cares’ defender from the Lions it was Kyle Van Noy…soon to be a Pro Bowl’er. Memo to Detroit: If the Patriots want your no-name defender…DON’T TRADE HIM!
Bademosi played a pretty good game as a starter here in a big spot versus Atlanta. He played 96% of the snaps and didn’t back down from Julio or Sanu.
Just when you think the Patriots defense is ‘bad’…things they did under everyone’s nose comes around to help save the day. Former Lions defenders, they didn’t want, are helping the Patriots get back to the Super Bowl…
-- Speaking of the Patriots DST…three straight games holding opponents t0 17 or fewer points. I know you hated me if you went Patriots over Jaguars or Steelers…our big-3 suggestions to roll fantasy 2017 with. Two were ‘genius’, one wasn’t…at least it didn’t start that way.
One of my greatest skills in fantasy, which comes from living and breathing the stat trends and game tape – I can sense the defenses that have potential greatness.
I’m not ready to re-love the Pats DST because I’ve moved on with the Jags, Steelers, Rams, etc., but for those still scuffling…the Patriots DST is back in play. ESPECIALLY because of their schedule…
Rivers-BYE-Siemian-Carr-Moore-Tyrod-Cutler-Ben-Tyrod the next seven games to finish FF 2017. Only the Steelers make you pause in that grouping.
Snap Counts of Interest…
26 = Dion Lewis
23 = White
13 = Burkhead
13 = Gillislee
55 = Bademosi
52 = Van Noy
45 = Deatrich Wise
40 = Trey Flowers
41 = Freeman
19 = Coleman