3 key matchups: Falcons at Patriots

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) catches a pass for a first down as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) defends in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Caption
Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) catches a pass for a first down as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) defends in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Credit: Michael Ainsworth

Credit: Michael Ainsworth

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Here are three matchups to watch when the Falcons (4-5) host the Patriots (6-4) at 8:20 p.m. Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

ExploreWhere to watch, listen, stream Patriots at Falcons

Patriots S Kyle Dugger vs. Falcons TE Kyle Pitts: The second-year safety from Fayetteville (Whitewater High) is having a fine season. He has three interceptions and 64 tackles. Falcons offensive coordinator Dave Ragone noted that Dugger always is in the right position on the field. Pitts has caught 40 passes for 606 yards and a touchdown this season. He’s been targeted 64 times and has a catch percentage of 67.3% on the season.

Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne vs. Falcons CB Avery Williams: Bourne is coming off a big game. He caught four passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in a 45-7 rout of the Browns on Sunday. Williams, a rookie from Boise State, had trouble in man coverage against the Cowboys’ elite wide receiving corps. The Falcons are working on his techniques to help him handle the shifty moves and speed of NFL receivers.

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson vs. Falcons LB Foye Oluokun: Stevenson, who was drafted in the fourth round this year, had a breakout game against the Browns. He rushed 20 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a hard-charging running back who runs with authority. Oluokun is the Falcons’ leading tackler, with 100. He has one tackle for loss, six quarterback hits, one forced fumble, a sack, interception and two passes defensed.

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Next four games

Patriots at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5

Atlanta at Carolina, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12

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