Don’t call it a trap game, thanks to Drew Brees and the Saints no one is catching the Atlanta Falcons off guard this week. Don’t call it a sleeper-pick, only a desperate degenerate would put money on the Cards in Vegas. Call it a long shot, a prayer, a Dumber & Dumber 1-in-a million “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” moment – Call it whatever you like, just don’t make it seem like Arizona will win this game. Other than the players and coaches suiting up in Cardinal-red on Sunday, anyone who’s watched both of these teams play this year couldn’t assume anything other than a Falcons victory.
Besides having his job on the line, a serving of humble pie is probably the best way to motivate an athlete. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Roddy White and the Atlanta Falcons had a lot of it last week. After saying his team could go 16-0 through the regular season, White was forced to eat his words when the Saints beat the Falcons 31-27 last Sunday, bringing Atlanta’s record down to 8-1, and bringing their concentration back up to 10. An alert and pissed off team with as much talent and firepower as the Falcons is the last thing Arizona wants to face right now, another loss would mean two straight years with a 6-game losing streak. Hardly the type of tradition we want to build in Phoenix.
If one were to put these teams side by side and compare them extensively then there wouldn’t be a ton of reasons why the Falcons are a better football team, but a glaring differential comes at the passing attack. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan is having an All-Pro caliber season and his offensive line gives up about 2 sacks per game. Meanwhile in Arizona, the offensive line gives up about 4.5 sacks a game and the offense fails to average more than 300 total yards each contest. Even with Larry Fitzgerald the offense hasn’t show us any reason to count on them to show up at all this season. With an offense that only has the Jets and Jaguars to look down upon, the defense has immense pressure on its back to perform every week.If the defense or special teams doesn’t account for at least one TD then the Cardinals probably won’t win any game they’re in this year, especially not Sunday’s.
The secondary will have its work cut out for it in Atlanta, both Roddy White and Julio Jones are supreme talents at the WR position and Tony Gonzalez’s career speaks for itself. The Cards might catch a break if Julio Jones can’t play, he’s currently a game-time decision with a sore ankle, but even without him Atlanta is still plenty dangerous. Atlanta’s offense is very good, but its not quite elite. If the Cardinals defense brings their A-game they could very well make this a closer game.
Even with a spirited defensive effort I don’t see the Cardinals staying in this game. Hopefully Ken Whisenhunt was able to successfully change a few things in the offense to improve its potency but nothing I saw leading up to the bye week showed Arizona has the capability to do a 180 degree turnaround anytime soon. Expect our pity party to continue Cardinals fans, the Falcons will win in Atlanta like they always do, 27-13.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic