This week the Atlanta Falcons take their 6-0 record to Philadelphia to take on Michael Vick and his Eagles. The importance of this game cannot be understated… Atlanta is undefeated and coming off a well-deserved bye week.
Michael Vick is on the hot-seat… He is turning into a turnover machine, and Philly head coach Andy Reid is putting the pressure on his starting quarterback in ways only Mark Sanchez has felt this year. Reid is 13-0 coming off a bye week, and Smitty is 6-0. The turnover battle will be key this week. At 6-0, the Falcons are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Or are they? Most people would argue that the regular season means nothing concerning Atlanta, because in the playoffs the Falcons are 0-3 under Matty Ice. I would argue that the Falcons have something different this year. The Mike Nolan defense is causing havoc on opposing teams, while the explosive passing game of Matt Ryan has led the Falcons back from lurking doom in multiple weeks. Matt has completed 67.8 % of his passes for 1,756 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. There is no question in the eyes of the NFL experts that Matt Ryan is on the cusp of being an “Elite” quarterback, but nobody can lay claim to that title until the playoff woes end.
Now for the bad, two weeks ago Atlanta hosted the Oakland Raiders and looked about as poor on both sides of the ball as I have seen in a while. This is concerning because the schedule only gets tougher from this point on. The offensive line has to find a way to block. Atlanta is at the bottom of the league in rushing statistics. This is odd because the passing game should be opening massive holes for Michael Turner. They’re not. I have watched back a few of the games and noticed a common trend… Turner is going sideline to sideline way too often. The north-south run game that we are accustomed to has not shown up this year. Perhaps the off-week can bring forth a rebirth, but if not, it is hard to imagine Atlanta to continue winning at this pace.
Keys to victory:
*Establish the run early to set up the deep ball