Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills Matchup Preview (1/2/22): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills Matchup Preview (1/2/22)

The Atlanta Falcons (7-8) play the Buffalo Bills (9-6) in week 17 at Highmark Stadium.  The Falcons are coming off a 20-16 home victory over the Lions.  Atlanta has not been over .500 at any point in a season since 2017.  Buffalo went on the road and beat New England 33-21 in week 16, they’re now alone in first place in the AFC East.  The Bills have scored at least 30 points in a game 18 times since 2020.  Atlanta has scored at least 20 points in eight games this season.  Per NFL.com, each of Buffalo’s last 16 wins have been by at least 10 points, the longest streak in the NFL since 1950.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills Betting Odds

The Bills are a 14-point home favorite over the Falcons.  Atlanta is 6-9 against the spread this season, 5-3 on the road.  The Falcons are 0-4 against the spread in their last four games following a straight up win.  The Bills are 7-1-1 against the spread vs. a team with a losing record.

My Prediction:  I like the Bills to win, but I have a hard time going with a 14-point spread.  I expect the teams to combine for more than 44.5 points.

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TV Schedule

Date: 1/2/22
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Highmark Stadium
TV Coverage: FOX

Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills Live Stream

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Atlanta Falcons Analysis

Atlanta is ranked 26th in the NFL in total offense with 309.5 yards.  They’re scoring 18.5 points per game, ranking them 25th in the league.  

In the win over the Lions in week 16, Matt Ryan wasn’t great, but good enough.  He was 18-24 for 215 yards and one touchdown.  He has thrown fewer than two touchdown passes in seven straight games.  The Boston College product has thrown four touchdown passes in his last seven contests.  On the season the 2016 NFL MVP has thrown for 3,555 yards while throwing 19 touchdowns with a 67.9 completion percentage.  He has thrown 366 touchdown passes in 220 career games, tied for ninth all-time.  Ryan can still win games in the NFL, but doesn’t have the same zip on the ball he’s had throughout his career, is the end near for the long-time Atlanta signal caller?

Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is the Falcons most dangerous pass catcher.  On the season he has 64 receptions, averaging 14.8 yards per catch.  Surprisingly he only has one touchdown in 2021.  In the victory over Detroit, Pitts had six catches for 102 yards.  He’s had at least 100 yards receiving in three games this season.  Per NFL.com, all other rookie tight ends have combined for one such game in Atlanta history.  With his speed, physicality, and ability to get open, Pitts is already in the upper echelon of tight ends in the NFL.  The fourth pick in the 2021 draft has the second most receiving yards in a season by a rookie tight end in history with 949.  Mike Ditka’s record of 1,076 receiving yards is well within Pitts’ reach.  

After playing the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears as a kick returner and part-time running back/wide receiver, gaining 550 yards of total offense in both seasons combined, Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most surprising players of the 2021 season.  Listed as a running back, Patterson has rushed for 579 yards on 140 carries while catching 49 passes for 523 yards. A Pro-Bowl snub, the former first round pick of the Vikings has a career-high 11 touchdowns this season; he had 10 touchdowns in the previous four years.  

Defensively, the Falcons are allowing 364.9 yards of total offense to their opponents this season, ranking them 24th in the NFL.  Ranked 28th in the league, Atlanta is allowing 26.7 points per game in 2021.

Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart

QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Cordarrelle Patterson 
RB2: Mike Davis
WR1: Tajae Sharpe
WR2: Russell Gage
WR3: Olamide Zaccheaus
TE1: Kyle Pitts

Buffalo Bills Analysis

The Bills offense is averaging 381.2 yards per game ranking them sixth in the NFL. They’re scoring 28.5 points per game which ranks them third in the league. 

Josh Allen led the Bills to an important road victory over the Patriots in week 16, throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns.  He also added 64 yards rushing on 12 carries in the win.  He has 14 300-yard passing games in his career.  Including playoffs, the Bills are 11-1 when Allen has at least 10 carries in a game.  On the season, the seventh pick in the 2018 draft has accounted for 4,667 yards of total offense (4,048 passing and 619 rushing).  He’s also thrown 34 touchdowns and rushed for four in 2021.  Additionally, Buffalo’s young signal caller is the eighth quarterback in NFL history to have thrown for at least 100 touchdown passes in their first four seasons.  Currently, Josh Allen is listed at +1200 to win the 2021 NFL MVP.  

Buffalo’s rushing attack is averaging 120.4 yards per game this season.  Devin Singletary is the Bills leading rusher with 672 yards; averaging 4.6 yards per carry.  He has a career-high four rushing touchdowns this season; he had four rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons combined.

Against the Patriots in week 16, Stefon Diggs had seven receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown: averaging 12.1 yards per reception.  Diggs leads the team with 89 receptions for 1,092 yards: while scoring nine touchdowns.  Isaiah McKenzie stepped up as the replacement for Cole Beasley who was out due to COVID-19, catching 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in the victory over New England.  Tight End Dawson Knox has 46 receptions for 538 yards; averaging 11.7 yards per catch this season.  In the week 16 win over the Patriots, he had a touchdown catch.  The third-year pro has nine receiving touchdowns this season, no other tight end in Bills history has more than six in a season per NFL.com.

Buffalo has the number one ranked defense allowing 287.9 yards per game to their opponents.  They’re third in the NFL allowing 17.6 points per game; they have two shutouts this season. The Bills defense has allowed 11 passing touchdowns this season and 173.1 passing yards per game, first in the NFL.  They’re third in the league in interceptions with 19; Safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are tied for the team lead in interceptions with five.  

Buffalo Bills Depth Chart

QB: Josh Allen
RB1: Matt Breida
RB2: Devin Singletary
RB3: Taiwan Jones
WR1: Emmanuel Sanders
WR2: Cole Beasley
WR3: Stefon Diggs
TE1: Dawson Knox

Atlanta Falcons vs. Buffalo Bills Daily Fantasy Picks

Russell Gage was expected to become the Falcons go-to receiver with Calvin Ridley out (non-football related), but it has been a struggle to be the number one receiver.  Against the Lions in week 16, Gage had four catches for 39 yards: averaging 9.75 yards a catch.  He’s been targeted 35 times the last four weeks, catching 27 of those passes.  

Josh Allen has at least 20 fantasy points in 10 games this season.  He’s averaging 2.3 touchdown passes per game in 2021.  Allen is the first player in league history with at least 100 touchdown passes and more than 20 rushing touchdowns in their first four seasons.

Scott has been a sports fan since he received a New York Mets jacket as a toddler. He’s been playing fantasy baseball and football for over 20 years, dating back to Frank Thomas being one of his first fantasy baseball picks. As a professional, he has covered the NFL, MLB, NCAAF, and NCAAB and is looked to as the go-to guy for fantasy sports amongst family, friends, and co-workers.

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