Dallas will follow up week one’s trip to Los Angeles by hosting the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta is coming off back-to-back 7-9 seasons. The Falcons are looking to improve and find a way to get back into the playoffs. The Falcons have made some changes coming into the 2020 season and are counting on those change to get them back into the playoffs. For the week two match up with the Cowboys. We are going to look at the key components of the Atlanta Falcons.
Starting with the offensive side of the ball for the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback mainstay Matt Ryan returns for another season after he was sacked 48 times and hit 135 times last season. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is returning for another season and that will give the offense some stability from a play calling perspective. The offensive line did Ryan no favors in 2019. However, Ryan was still able to pass for 4,466 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Ryan, when he has time, is still a dangerous quarterback in the NFL and has the talent to pick any defense apart. Dallas’s offense will need to step it up and utilize the talent on the field to move the ball downfield to the end-zone.
The rushing attack will take on a backfield by committee type of look. Atlanta added Todd Gurley to give the running game more punch for this upcoming season. Gurley rushed for 857 yards last season with the Los Angeles Rams and punched the ball in the end zone 12 times. He has made three Pro Bowls during his career, but concerns about his knees and Rams salary cap problems prompted the Rams to release him during the offseason. Gurley will carry a big portion of the load if last week is any indicator. Dallas fans can expect to see Ito Smith and Brian Hill pick up some carries as well and they have the opportunity to be explosive.
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Atlanta’s wide receivers are some of the most talented in the NFL. Any time that a team can have Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage as part of the passing game, the chances of winning increase a great deal. Throw in the fact that Atlanta had tight end Hayden Hurst find the end zone last week. Opposing teams then have a nightmare of a receiving corps to matchup against. Dallas fans should be worried about the passing game Atlanta can generate. Atlanta’s receivers have the ability to put up some impressive numbers Sunday and Dallas will need to shut them down early and often.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons are a team that got shredded by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson last Sunday. The defensive line is one that caused a great deal of pressure last time Dallas and Atlanta matched up against one another. Atlanta added Dante Fowler to the mix this season and he has proven that he can be a disruptive player. Atlanta drafted defensive tackle Marlon Davidson to stop the run and help put pressure on the quarterback.
The bottom line is Dallas fans should go into this game concerned. The Dallas defense cannot get the opposing offense off the field. Kellen Moore’s play calling on the offensive side of the ball was not impressive a week ago. Dallas had far too many runs being called on first down. Meanwhile, the passing game was not used as effectively as it should have been last week. Dallas should go into the game realizing that they are on upset alert. The season can go two ways, either they right the ship or it could be the makings of an exceptionally long season. Now that they have a game under their belts. Dallas can settle down and play their game and let the talent shine.