NFL-AFCE Game Day-Week 6

NFL-AFCE Game Day-Week 6
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Today’s Games

Dolphins @ Falcons


Atlanta Falcons 26, Miami Dolphins 14

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Wondering if the Falcons will play down to their competition (again). Much depends on who’s available at wide receiver for Atlanta. If Julio Jonesand Mohamed Sanu are back (especially Jones, obvs), reigning MVP Matt Ryan won’t have to hold the football as long. Devonta Freeman‘s season could be characterized as so-so to this point. If the Atlanta wideouts are down, he will be a huge factor in the outcome of this game. The same sort of thing could be said for Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi, who’s endured a subpar beginning that hasn’t been augmented by Jay Cutler slinging it (not) around the ballpark. Ryan, by the way, is 7-2 after a bye, which is tied for the best post-bye record among active quarterbacks since he entered the league in 2008. MIAvsATL



Miami Dolphins

Miami’s defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game all season, but this is the week that changes. The Falcons provide plenty of matchup issues and are coming off a bye. Miami’s last-ranked offense won’t be able to keep up. Falcons 23, Dolphins 13 — James Walker

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons know the Dolphins will be tough to score against, especially with them allowing just 16.8 points per game — fourth best in the league. At the same time, the Falcons had the bye week to rest and reflect on what didn’t work right through the first four games, particularly in a 23-17 loss against a stingy Buffalo Bills defense. As pointed out by ESPN Stats & Information, the Falcons are 7-1 in their past eight games coming off the bye. Maybe that trend for success will continue — if the Falcons cut out the turnovers and create some instead. Matt Ryan has six turnovers, and his focus is cleaning up those mistakes while having better success on third down and with the deep ball. Julio Jones, limited this week with a hip flexor injury, plans to play. And although Jones doesn’t have a touchdown yet this season, he’s still the Falcons’ top scoring threat at receiver. The Falcons will find a way to get Jones on the scoreboard, even if it’s a low-scoring game. And the defense will take advantage of Jay Cutler and the Dolphins’ anemic offense. Falcons 20, Dolphins 10 — Vaughn McClure




Patriots @ Jetss


New England Patriots 28, New York Jets 17

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Could the Jets possibly pull off the upset and move to two games over .500? Put another way: How much are they going to ruin next year’s draft position? In order to upset the Patriots, New York’s defense must stay disciplined. Now that Rob Gronkowski is good to go, my original thought that the Jets would have to clog the short passing lanes and make Tom Brady beat them deep won’t necessarily work. Remember, Gronk missed one game against Gang Green the last season and got hurt in the other. I trust New York’s defense against New England’s ground attack. I shouldn’t, though — the Jets rank 30th in the league in run defense right now. Could this be a Mike Gillislee game? Maybe it will be a Chris Hogan game, actually. Hogan has posted five touchdown receptions in the last four games, including one in each. He’s the first Pats wideout to notch a receiving score in four consecutive games since Randy Moss in 2007. Hogan = Moss. Alright, maybe I got carried away there. NEvsNYJ



New England Patriots

Playing a complete 60-minute complementary football game has been elusive for the Patriots, but coming off a 10-day break, this is their best chance to do it. Going back to last season, the Patriots have won 10 consecutive road games. Tom Brady enters with 23 regular-season wins over the Jets as a starter, and joins Brett Favre as the only quarterback with at least 23 wins against two different divisional opponents (Jets, Bills). Based on the difference in talent level between the teams, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t notch win No. 24. Patriots 30, Jets 20 — Mike Reiss

New York Jets

This is the Jets’ biggest home game since Dec. 27, 2015, when they beat the Patriots in overtime. In fact, they have split their past four at home against the Patriots, each game decided by six points or fewer. This will be another close game. The difference will be RB James White, who leads the Patriots with 29 catches. The Jets have struggled with pass-catching backs, as they’ve allowed 30 receptions (tied for 24th) and two touchdowns. They can stop some of what the Patriots do, but not everything. Their three-game winning streak comes to an end. Patriots 24, Jets 20 — Rich Cimini



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