In a rematch of the most recent Super Bowl, the New England Patriots (4-2) will take on the Atlanta Falcons (3-2) tonight on Sunday Night Football. Both teams sport winning records, but neither is quite where they would have hoped or expected to be at this point in the season.
The Patriots defense has been one of the worst in the NFL all season. They have given up huge yardage totals and points to almost every team they have played this year. You would tend to assume that a Bill Belichick-coached defense would improve throughout the season, but they have a long way to go just to approach respectability.
The Falcons offense, on the other hand, has also been a disappointment. It was perhaps expected that they would take a step back this season. Their offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, moved on to take a head coaching position and Steve Sarkisian is to put it simply not as good. Last year’s offense was also unsustainably efficient. There was some regression that had to be expected even if Shanahan was still in town.
It will be interesting to see which unit steps up tonight.