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Falcons Vs. Saints – Preview
Posted By Dan Rakusan On Nov 1 2009 @ 6:50 pm In Atlanta Falcons | 5 Comments
First of all I'd like to apologize for my lack of blogging lately. Life has been inordinately hectic of late, leaving me with little time to do the things in life I enjoy. I promise to be more vigilant now that things have calmed down!
Anyway, tomorrow night's tilt between the 6-0 Saints and 4-2 Falcons should be a telling one. Both these teams have aspirations of deep playoff runs, and both were considered among the NFC's potential contenders for the Superbowl. Thus far, the Saints look much more likely to win it all than the Falcons, who have sputtered through the past two games.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta's wunderkind, has had his troubles in the past pair of games, but has otherwise been solid. He has completed 120 of 191 for 1360 yards and 11 touchdowns, compared to Drew Brees' 13 of 197 for 1698 yards and 14 scores. Overall edge will have to go to the Saints in this area, at least until Roddy White starts to figure more prominently in Atlanta's attack plans.
Michael Turner, last year's second-leading rusher, is off to a slow start. He's carried the ball 118 times for only 403 yards and 7 TDs, which might seem like alright numbers, but I've noticed that teams are really stuffing his running lanes, making the big run very rare. It also doesn't help that Jerious Norwood is questionable this weekend after missing last week's game with a hip injury. Also questionable is fullback Jason Snelling, who hurt his hamstring last weekend. This game could be forced into the air with these injuries, even if those two guys play.
The biggest concern for the Falcons will be eliminating big plays through the air, something which is not traditionally a strength of the defence. Fortunately, the secondary is fairly healthy, although with the vaunted offence of New Orleans, that may be irrelevant, as Atlanta has problems with deep coverage, and lately – tackling.
Finally, look for Tony Gonzalez to have a big day, as Matt Ryan will face pressure and need a release valve. Gonz has been a tremendous pickup for the Falcons, as he adds a dimension that didn't really exist since Alge Crumpler was actually good.
My prediction: Atlanta keeps it close, but ends up dropping the game by a 31-24 score.
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