A post-draft look at the Falcons’ 2017 opponents: The Patriots, Game Six

February 5, 2017 Houston, TX – Atlanta New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) gets off a pass under pressure from Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley (44) in the first half at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, on Sunday, February 5, 2017. The Patriots beat the Falcons in OT 34-28. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — A look at the teams on the Falcons’ schedule and how they have reconstructed their roster since the season’s end. We’re up to Game Six, the Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots:

GAME ONE: CHICAGO BEARS

GAME TWO: GREEN BAY PACKERS

GAME THREE: DETROIT LIONS 

GAME FOUR: BUFFALO BILLS

GAME FIVE: MIAMI DOLPHINS

GAME SIX: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Falcons at Patriots, at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 22

No longer with the Patriots: Chris Long, DE (Signed with Eagles), Martellus Bennett, TE (Signed with Packers), Logan Ryan, CB (Signed with Titans),  Barkevious Mingo, LB (Signed with Colts), Jabaal Sheard, DE (Signed with Colts) and  Sebastian Vollmer, T (Released).

Key free agent signings/pickups: WR Brandin Cooks, DE Kony Elay, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Stephon Gilmore, DL Lawrence Guy, LB Barkevious Mingo, RB Mike Gillislee and RB Rex Burkhead.

New England’s 2017 NFL draft

3 83 Derek Rivers OLB Youngstown State
3 85 Antonio Garcia T Troy
4 131 Deatrich Wise DE Arkansas
6 211 Conor McDermott T UCLA

Weaknesses: The Falcons were able to exploit the Patriots’ offensive line early in the Super Bowl before they ran out of gas. They’ll have to attack quarterback Tom Brady again, but have to do it for four quarters. 

Strengths: The passing attack with Brady at the controls is nearly unstoppable. The fact that they added Cooks makes them even more dangerous. Cooks had 162 receptions for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons for the Saints.

Comment: The Patriots elected to trade for veterans instead of building through the draft this offseason. They added Cooks, Ealy and Allen through trades. Also for the first time since signing Adalius Thomas in 2007, the Patriots spent big money in free agency when they landed Gilmore with a five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million in guarantees.


FALCONS SCHEDULE

Exhibition season

Falcons at Miami Dolphins at 7 p.m. Aug. 10

Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers at 4 p.m. Aug. 20

Arizona Cardinals at Falcons at 7 p.m. Aug. 26

Jacksonville Jaguars at Falcons at 7 p.m. Aug. 31

Regular season

Sept. 10 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., Fox

Sept. 17 Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m. NBC

Sept. 24 at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. Fox

Oct. 1 Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS

Oct. 22 at New England Patriots, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Oct. 29 at New York Jets, 1 p.m., Fox

Nov. 5 at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

Nov. 12 Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Nov. 20 at Seattle Seahawks (Mon) 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Nov. 26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 3 Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 7 New Orleans Saints (Thur), 8:25 p.m., NBC/NFL Network/Amazon

Dec. 18 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mon). 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 24 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 31 Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT

MUST READ PROFILE: Falcons top pick McKinley makes name for himself

2017 Falcons report card: Falcons earn a B-plus

NFC Champs add a pass rusher, quality depth 

1st rounder: Meet defensive end Takkarist McKinley

3rd rounder: Meet linebacker Duke Riley

4th rounder: Meet offensive guard Sean Harlow

5th rounder: Meet defensive back Damontae Kazee

5th rounder: Meet running back Brian Hill

5th rounder: Meet tight end Eric Saubert

 

 

 

 

 

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