|National Football League|
|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 AM 北京时间5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST7:30 PM CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30 , September 29, 2013|
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia Attendance: 70,744
New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons
- New England beat Tampa Bay, 23-3, at home last Sunday and is 3-0 for the first time since the 2007 campaign, when the Pats went 16-0. Dating to Week 8 last season, the Patriots have won five consecutive road games by an average of 16.8 points per victory.
- The Falcons dropped a 27-23 decision to the Dolphins in Miami in Week 3, and are now 1-2 for the second time in the last three seasons (also 2011). Including the 2012 playoffs, Atlanta is just 2-4 in its last six games, with each of those contests decided by seven points or fewer.
- The Patriots beat the Falcons, 26-10, in Foxborough the last time these clubs met in 2009, recording their third straight victory over Atlanta in the process. New England and Atlanta have played 12 games versus each other all-time, and each team has won six of those meetings.
- Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins was on the receiving end of both of Tom Brady's touchdown passes last Sunday (Thompkins' first two career TD catches). Brady has now thrown at least one scoring pass in 51 consecutive games -- the longest active streak of its kind, and second-longest streak overall in NFL history (Drew Brees -- 54).
- Julio Jones had nine catches for 115 yards last Sunday, recording his second consecutive 100+ yard receiving performance in the process. Jones and Julian Edelman of the Patriots both have 27 receptions in 2013 -- tied for most in the NFL.
- The Patriots have scored five touchdowns this season, all five of which coming on passes from Tom Brady. New England is one of four NFL clubs yet to score a rushing TD in 2013 (Cleveland, Pittsburgh and St. Louis are the others).
- Texans fire Kubiak after skid reaches 11
- Panthers returning 3 starters vs. Saints
- No Harvin, Browner for Seattle vs. 49ers
- Browns to start Campbell at QB vs. Pats
- Fox opts to coach Broncos from sideline
By KEVIN CHROUST
(AP) -- The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons aren't looking like the offensive machines some might have expected them to be.
Both teams are dealing with significant injuries on offense and red-zone issues, but one is still finding a way to win as they get set to meet Sunday night in Atlanta.
The 3-0 Patriots, a season after averaging a league-high 34.8 points per game, are one of 11 NFL teams averaging under 20 at 19.7. The other 10 have a combined record of 7-23, and the 2-1 Jets are the only other team in the group with a winning record.
"I feel good. 3-0. You can't ask for anything better," defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "We know our offense, sooner or later, they're going to start clicking."
It's going to be hard for it to get any worse inside the opponent's 20-yard line, where the Patriots are last in red-zone performance.
"Just poor execution," quarterback Tom Brady said. "I've been one of the main culprits."
There could be a turnaround coming if tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola play this week, though both are listed as questionable.
So far this year, the receiving duties have been filled by Julian Edelman's league high-tying 27 catches and rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. Despite a pair of touchdown catches from Thompkins and seven receptions from Dobson in last Sunday's 23-3 win over Tampa Bay, cohesiveness with Brady has been lacking at times.
Brady has completed 57.5 percent of his passes, his worst three-game mark to open a season since 2006 (53.3), and he's hanging it all on himself.
"I think throwing an interception right to a strong safety last week doesn't help, especially (when) two plays before I had a wide-open guy," Brady said. "I think plays like that are more the problem. I have to do a good job finding the open guys, guys that are running free and then hit them. That will help our red-zone offense more than anything."
The Patriots have managed to overcome the shaky offense by allowing 34 points. The 11.3 points-against average is tied for second with Kansas City and behind only Seattle's 9.0.
They are one of 10 teams to hold their first three opponents under 1,000 yards and have allowed an average of 188.3 yards in the air. New England is second in the AFC in takeaways while cornerback Aqib Talib leads the NFL with three interceptions.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons (1-2), though, should provide a significantly greater test than rookies EJ Manuel and Geno Smith and the recently benched Josh Freeman.
Atlanta's 23.7 points per game isn't a huge departure from last year's 26.2, but coach Mike Smith wasn't at all happy about the way things went down in his team's 27-23 loss to Miami last Sunday.
"We did not play very good situational football. We're talking about red zone, two minute and third downs," Smith said. "We gave up 10 points in two-minute situations - a field goal at the end of the half, and seven points at the end of the game.
"We weren't as efficient as we needed to be on third down; they were 7 of 12. We were 0 for 3 (defensively) in the red zone. We were only 2 for 5 in (offensive) red-zone efficiency so you can just do the math."
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones leads the NFL with 373 receiving yards and is tied with Edelman for the league high in receptions, but he's questionable with a knee injury.
So is fellow receiver Roddy White, who has just seven catches for 56 yards and has been dealing with an ankle injury.
"We've got to do a lot more on offense," White said. "In the red zone, score touchdowns not kick field goals, and we'll be fine. We've got to find a way to find the end zone."
Falcons running back Steven Jackson will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling are expected to again carry the load after combining for 139 rushing yards last week.
Atlanta cornerback Asante Samuel is questionable with a sore thigh.
Brady is 3-0 against the Falcons, including a 26-10 home win over Ryan in the last meeting in 2009.
Updated September 27, 2013