What manner of statistical production can fans, fantasy owners and intrepid gamblers expect from Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ offense in Week 4 when the team takes on the Falcons in Atlanta?
All sorts of variables come into play every week, and the biggest one—literally—this week is the availability of Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Weeks ago, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Silver reported (via Chris Wesseling on Twitter) that the Patriots were “definitely” expecting him back by Week 4. On Wednesday, however, Gronk’s outlook sounded decidedly less definite, as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the odds are 60-40 in favor of Gronk making his season debut this week (h/t Rotoworld).
The other chief factor in determining offensive output each week is obviously that week’s opponent and the game plan coaches put in place to win the game.
The Patriots have been very aggressive on offense through three games, averaging 42 pass attempts per contest and leading the NFL with 225 total plays from scrimmage.
New England has shown remarkable balance in its play-calling, logging over 30 rushing attempts per game as well. Look for that trend to continue as the Patriots find ways to keep Matt Ryan and the high-powered Falcons offense off the field.
On paper, this weekend presents a tantalizing matchup for the Patriots offense, as Atlanta’s defense ranks among the NFL’s bottom 10 in yards allowed and surrenders 24.7 points per game. Of the Patriots' first three opponents, only the Buffalo Bills have allowed more yards, and none have allowed as many points at the Falcons.
|Team||YPG Allowed||PPG Allowed|
Matt Ryan is 34-5 as a starter at home, so the Patriots have their work cut out for them in terms of actually winning the game, but their biggest challenges will come defensively in trying to slow down Ryan, Julio Jones and Atlanta’s explosive attack. Offensively, this should be the week the Patriots finally fire on all cylinders.
The only reason for pessimism remains the lingering health concerns surrounding wide receiver Danny Amendola. Officially listed as limited in practice, he remains questionable for this week’s game as he recovers from torn adductor tendons in his groin. For anyone unfamiliar with that particular bit of anatomy, adductors are the muscles located on the inner thigh, responsible for contracting the hip joint and pulling the leg closer to the midline of the body.
Suffice it to say, any lateral movements are excruciating if not impossible, so don’t expect to see Amendola on the field this week.
Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer did not practice on Wednesday after leaving last week’s game with a foot injury, so he’s questionable for Sunday’s matchup. The other injuries of note are a pair of broken wrists suffered earlier this season by Shane Vereen and Matthew Slater, neither of whom will see the field any time soon.
With those few exceptions, the Patriots are healthier than they’ve been since the season opener, and their rookie receivers finally made strides in Week 3 after dropping the ball—figuratively and literally—during the first two games. All signs point to New England mounting its best offensive effort of the young season this week.
Here’s an in-depth look at precisely what to expect from Brady, Stevan Ridley and, Goodell-willing, Rob Gronkowski and the gang.
All statistics courtesy of NFL.com unless otherwise noted.