The New England Patriots are 3-0 straight up (SU) on the season and in their last three games against the Atlanta Falcons, and will try to extend both streaks to 4-0 when they visit the Falcons this Sunday night.
New England was a 2-point road underdog after opening as a small favorite earlier in the week. It's a role they have excelled in over the years, as they are 6-1 against the spread (ATS) in their past seven road games as a small underdog.
The Falcons, suffering with injuries, are nonetheless a tough team to bet against at home early in the season. Atlanta is 14-1 SU, 12-3 ATS in its last 15 September home games dating back to 2003.
The offense isn't nearly as high-octane as it has been in years past, but the New England Patriots are still getting the job done so far this season. Averaging only 19.7 points per game, Tom Brady and the Patriots are off to a 3-0 SU start, finally picking up their first cover of the season with a 23-3 win over Tampa Bay.
New England has looked great on defense, allowing just 11.3 points per game.
The Atlanta Falcons lost just three games in the regular season in 2012, but have already lost two to start the 2013 season off 1-2 SU and ATS. Atlanta held a 20-10 lead on the road against Miami last week, but couldn't hold on and eventually lost 27-23.
The Falcons also fell just short in a 23-17 loss to New Orleans the week before, failing to score on a first and goal at the end of the game. Already down two games in the NFC South race to the Saints, the Falcons should be plenty motivated Sunday night.
Atlanta is 12-1 SU in its last 13 regular-season home games with a 7-4-2 ATS record over that stretch. New England is a tough road team too though with a 16-4 SU and 13-5-2 ATS record over its last 20 regular season road games.
Both of these teams have been two of the NFL's best regular season teams in recent years.
This is a tough one to call. New England has looked better so far this season, but the Patriots haven't really played a quality opponent yet. Considering Atlanta's home field advantage and how much more they need this game than the Patriots do, we like the Falcons to find a way to win it at home.
PICK: Falcons -2 | Computer Prediction: 26-17 Patriots(from Odds Shark picks engine)