NFL Thursday Night Preview: New England Patriots (6-4) At Atlanta Falcons (4-5)

Week 11 of the 2021 NFL season gets underway on Thursday, November 18 (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon) as the New England Patriots (6-4) visit the Atlanta Falcons (4-5) in a midseason interconference meeting. It will be the second time the teams have met since New England’s 34-28 comeback victory over Atlanta in Super Bowl LI following the 2016 season, the only Super Bowl ever to go into overtime. The Patriots lead the all-time regular-season series, 8-6, and have won each of the past five meetings.

New England enters Week 11 coming off a 45-7 victory over Cleveland. After scoring 54 points in Week 7, the Patriots are one of two teams in the league (Tampa Bay) to score at least 45 points in multiple games this season. Quarterback MAC JONES completed 19 of 23 attempts (82.6 percent) for 198 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 142.1 rating in the victory, marking the fifth-highest single-game passer rating by a rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (minimum 20 attempts). Jones enters Thursday leading rookie quarterbacks in completions (223), completion percentage (69.0), passing yards (2,333), touchdown passes (13) and passer rating (94.1). and looks to join DAK PRESCOTT (2016) and BEN ROETHLISBERGER (2004) as the only rookie quarterbacks to ever win their first five career road starts.

Rookie running back RHAMONDRE STEVENSON rushed for a career-high 100 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10. With Jones and Stevenson, the Patriots became the fifth team since 1970 to have a rookie quarterback throw at least two touchdown passes and a rookie running back rush for at least two touchdowns in a single game. Stevenson aims for his third in a row with at least 100 scrimmage yards. Running back DAMIEN HARRIS, who was out last week, has rushed for a touchdown in each of his past five games (Weeks 5-9). Wide receiver JAKOBI MEYERS caught his first career touchdown last week and is one of three AFC wide receivers (KEENAN ALLEN and TYREEK HILL) with at least four receptions in nine games this season. Wide receiver KENDRICK BOURNE recorded a career-high 98 receiving yards and added a touchdown catch in Week 10 and aims for his third in a row on Thursday Night Football with a touchdown reception. Tight end HUNTER HENRY had a season-high two touchdown receptions last week and leads all tight ends with seven touchdown receptions this season. He has a touchdown catch in each of his previous three games on Thursday Night Football.

Cornerback J.C. JACKSON has two passes defensed in each of the past two games and leads the league with 14 passes defensed in 2021. He is the only player in the NFL with at least five interceptions in each of the past three seasons (2019-21). With Jackson and defensive backs KYLE DUGGER (three interceptions) and ADRIAN PHILLIPS (three), New England is the only team in the league featuring three players each with at least three interceptions this season. Linebacker MATT JUDON has three sacks in his past three games and ranks tied for fourth in the league with 9.5 sacks this season. The sixth-year veteran seeks his first career 10-sack season.

Atlanta enters Thursday as winners of three of their past five games, scoring at least 27 points in each of their past three wins. Quarterback MATT RYAN ranks eighth in NFL history with 58,041 passing yards and 10th with 362 touchdown passes, and is within striking distance of ELI MANNING (366 touchdown passes) for ninth place on the all-time list. In four career starts against New England, including the postseason, Ryan has 1,137 passing yards (284.3 per game) and five touchdowns for a 100.4 rating.

Running back CORDARRELLE PATTERSON enters Week 11 leading all running backs with a career-high 473 receiving yards and ranks tied for third with 39 catches. In four home games this season, Patterson has totaled 369 scrimmage yards (92.3 per game) and four touchdown receptions. He spent the 2018 season with New England and totaled 475 scrimmage yards (247 receiving, 228 rushing) and four touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing). Tight end KYLE PITTS leads all rookie tight ends with 40 catches this season and ranks second among all rookies with 606 receiving yards. He is one of three tight ends (MARK ANDREWS and TRAVIS KELCE) with at least 60 receiving yards in five or more games this season.

Defensive tackle GRADY JARRETT has at least five tackles in three of his past four and tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks against New England in Super Bowl LI. Linebacker DEION JONES is one of four players in the league with at least 10 tackles in six or more games this season and has five tackles for loss and five passes defensed in five career Thursday games. Linebacker FOYESADE OLUOKUN leads the team with 100 tackles and is one of two in the NFL (BOBBY WAGNER) with at least 100 tackles in each of the past two seasons. Oluokun and Jones (87) are the only pair of teammates each with at least 85 tackles this season.

FOX will broadcast 10 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 5-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night). Thursday’s game is slated to be simulcast via NFL Network, distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes and streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

The game will feature Joe Buck, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink on the call for FOX. The Amazon broadcast features Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm, and the Amazon Scout’s feed is called by Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah and Joy Taylor.