The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a lost to the Texans where the defense was absolutely nonexistent. Matt Ryan in the offense showed up for the game in this one as they actually had a lead at halftime for the first time since the Eagles game. However, the 17-16 lead entering the 2nd half disappeared as the defense had no answers for Watson and the Texans offense. Head coach Dan Quinn stated that the team would not return to Atlanta after the game, but spend the week out in Phoenix preparing for Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals got their first win of the season against the Bengals are currently 1-3-1 on the season, while the Falcons are 1-4.
So what do the Falcons do to get a win on Sunday. Well they need to stop Kyler Murray. Watson killed the Falcons with both his arm and legs. Kyler Murray discovered in the Bengals game that he has to use his feet to keep his team in games. So the Falcons need to find a way to get to Murray and do not let him break containment. Murray has had a lot of his passes batted down at line so if you cannot get pressure on him then get your hands up and just knock the ball down.
Second thing the Falcons need to do is to build off what you did against the offense. This is for the offense not the defense. The offense against the Texans were very efficient in the red zone. Yeah they struggled to get a good running game with Freeman which has been a major issue all season long. Matt Ryan didn’t throw an interception until the final seconds of the game which was a pick, but at that point the game was already lost for the Falcons all it did was made the score look worst than it did. However, Ryan did a great job of not forcing the ball and if his options weren’t there then do the check down to the backs which worked well. We saw the shuffle pass to Freeman which got a touchdown. Ryan also found Sanu for his first touchdown of the season and found Calvin Ridley for a touchdown. The only thing that concerned me on Sunday was Julio not getting the ball much. Granted that this has to do with Julio dealing with an injury, but if he is out there it means he is healthy enough to go out there to make an impact.
Final thing the Falcons need to do is to stop playing these soft zones. The soft zones have not worked at all. Falcons need to play better coverage defensively. Second year corner Isiah Oliver is seeing his playing time being reduce and you will see rookie corner out of Ohio State Kendall Sheffield get a lot more playing time. Oliver has been awful this season so far. He has played out of position, been burned, and looked absolutely lost out there on the field. He hasn’t really given the team anything to happy about so Sheffield is the next man up and will be interesting to see how well he will do.
Now for a few transactions that the Falcons have made this week. Safety Johnathan Cyprien was placed on the IR earlier this week. There has been no word on exactly what his injury is, but he is coming off an ACL injury that kept him out all last season. Falcons signed former Georgia Tech cornerback DJ White. For Jacket fans, you will remember him for his game winning interception back in 2014 against Georgia in Overtime. White was originally signed by the Eagles to their practice squad and has been with a few teams during his time. He was with the Redskins during the preseason and was with the Colts before then. White was a 2016 sixth round pick in the draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Falcons also signed offensive linemen John Wetzel especially with the injury of Jamon Brown who was out last week. Also the Falcons signed Kasey Redfern to the practice squad as he will be moved to the active roster on Saturday or Sunday for the game.
I believe that this game is one that the Falcons should win. Cardinals are not a good team, but neither are the Falcons right now. This would be a good win to get because I don’t know how many more wins the Falcons can get especially if they cannot turn this thing around. Kickoff against the Cardinals is at 4:05 on Fox. Follow @BirdsInTheBenz on twitter throughout the game and for all updates on the Falcons.
By: Stewart Zwald @SDZwald041599