By: Greg Rector
The Atlanta Falcons pay a visit to Jerry’s World this week. Both teams are 0-1 and have many of the same issues after their losses. Fourth down wasn’t kind to either team in week one and I’ll leave at that. Week one definitely looked like a pre-season game. Let’s look at this matchup.
Ceedee Lamb did not look out of place at all in his debut (the 4th downplay aside) Elliott was in excellent form as well with a TD in the air and another on the ground. Prescott had a very good half, then not so much in the 2nd half. This group should improve this week collectively IF the offensive line play improves from week one. The line was definitely not firing on all cylinders and must bring up their level of play this week. The Falcons defense was torched by Russell Wilson, and with the weapons available to Prescott, they should put up the numbers. The key will be sustaining drives. Keeping Matt Ryan on the sidelines is a must this week. That only happens if the line plays well against a front seven that is pretty good.
I watched the Seahawks vs Falcons game and it is the Falcons secondary that has to be considered their weakness. Look for all three wide receivers to see plenty of work. The Falcons gave up plenty of drive sustaining plays to Seattle right between the linebackers and the DB’s, especially in the middle of the field. With no Jarwin, expect Cooper and Lamb, along with both running backs to attack that area of the field this week.
For all the issues the Falcons had last week on 4th down, Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley racked up 450 passing yards last week. Not something you want to see with a young secondary and a linebacking corps, that just lost it’s newly minted signal-caller. Last week the Rams used their ability to use very quick plays to keep the Cowboys defensive line away from Goff. The Falcons don’t have that in their arsenal. So in order to limit the Falcons passing attack, they best get to Ryan often.
The defense will also face an old nemesis in Todd Gurley, the former Ram has had very good games against Dallas as we know too well. Because they played from behind last week, the Falcons didn’t run very much, when they did though Gurley still managed 4 yards a carry.
Trevon Diggs played very well much like Lamb for the offense, he doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights out on the corner. While Woods and Kupp are both good receivers, this week it’s Julio Jones, and he’s definitely a tier above what Diggs faced last week. Welcome to the man’s game Trevon, it’s always hard. The rest of the secondary will be tested by the Falcons receivers as well.
TRAINING CAMP IS OVER:
All the hype for over a month proved yet again to be plenty of hot air. The Cowboys execution on both sides of the ball left much to be desired. Game speed and camp speed are two different animals. Three dropped passes (the bane of the offense in 2019) that would be a pace of 48 drops, even worse than last season. You better believe the focus will be on the details and in doing everything at game speed during practice this week. The O-line must definitely be sharper, they need to come off the snap harder, push people around, and generally be a whole lot nastier than they played against the Rams.
The routine that players rely upon will now be far more regimented. That has to be a good thing for this group. The coaching staff now has real film to use as a teaching tool. Players will be held to account under McCarthy and his assistants. Basically I look for improvement this week at every level.
Sorry Cowboys fans I had this week as a loss on the schedule and I am sticking to it. Ryan will find his receivers (Especially Jones) against this young secondary. I think both offenses have big days, however, at the end of the day, the Falcons outscore the Cowboys 38-34.
You can find me on Twitter @GregCowboys