Picking up a win last week sure does feel good for the Atlanta Falcons. The offense looked sharp, especially in the red zone, woohoo! The defense gave up twenty-four points, but also looked stout for majority of the game. Cam Newton was held in check as best as could be, and Ricardo Allen came up with a big interception late in the game. Although the defense gave up over four hundred yards, they got the job done and did not look significantly worse considering they lost both Keanu Neal and Deion Jones. New Orleans this week is a big question mark, and to be honest I think we all do not know what to expect. It is a big divisional game though, and the keys to stopping their offense are as clear as ever.
Keep This Offense Off The Field
Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas are forces all around the league. Limiting their touches will be key to Atlanta’s defensive success. The Saints will have their moments on offense. Sean Payton will make sure of it. But the Falcons linebackers will need to be fresh all game if they want to run with Kamara. I imagine Alford and Trufant to both have their hands full with Michael Thomas, considering he has twenty-eight receptions in just two games. We know Drew Bress will be Drew Brees. This defensive line needs to get pressure and force the ball out of his hands quick. Our secondary has proved solid both weeks, and the linebackers will be able to handle the rest. This offense can blow up at any moment, so keeping their drives limited to three plays and out will greatly improve Atlanta’s chance of winning.
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Alvin Kamara burst onto the scene last season and has continued his solid play in the first two weeks of the season. He averages 17 touches a game and will probably get more considering Ingram’s replacement in Gillislee has not done much. New Orleans will look to get him going early and often. In the passing game is where he seems to be most dangerous. Any linebacker matched up on him is a problem. Dan Quinn and the defense need to key on him big time in order to keep him under control.
Through two games, as a team Atlanta only has four total sacks. There has been pressure occasionaly, but even then they only have one tackle for loss on the season as well. This defensive line has been underwhelming for what was expected. Takk McKinley has been solid, but as of now he is day to day with what they are calling a non-serious injury. Grady Jarrett as well has provided a lot of pressure. However, Vic Beasley has been almost silent besides a few tackles so far. If the goal on Sunday is to make Brees uncomfortable McKinley and Jarrett are going to need Beasley’s help along with the rest of the defensive line. Most definitely expect another Brian Poole corner blitz. Quinn seems to love them and they clearly work.
If Atlanta’s defense can keep the Saints off the field early like they did with Newton and the Panthers, they should see a lot of success Sunday. Containing Kamara and Thomas will be a problem. I expect them to have some success. However, keeping them out of the endzone is a surefire plan to win this ballgame. Making the rest of Brees’ weapons work and keeping Brees moving in the pocket will keep the Saints offense limited. I predict a 30-23 victory.