Special Guest Writer: Roddy E. Nixon, Jr. AKA Seminole Warrior
In the heat of the night, I’ve got troubles on the wall. In the heat of the night – must be an ending to it all. But hold on; it won’t be long if you be strong – and it’ll be alright.
In the heat of the night; In the heat of the night.
The fellows at the Branch complex are starting to feel a little heat as the Falcons Nation is in a state of confusion at this point in the season. Sure, we have won two games in the NFC South. Yes, we are only one game out of first place. And certainly, when on message, we have one of the most dangerous offensive units in the National Football League. But for all those warm fuzzies, the faults are just as alarming for this team. We will not spend time on them in this particular forum but rest assured, we will continue to document them and discuss them at a later point in time.
For now, the 2-3 Chicago Bears are heading south to face our 2-3 Atlanta Falcons. This one had the potential to be a “must see” game when the schedule makers published it back in the spring but both teams are significantly underachieved thus far in this season. Both defensive units are equally pathetic while each team features offensive units loaded with talent at each key position. This game is equally important to both squads as they seek to establish a footprint for a middle of the season surge.
This game is as even matched as it could come. For the Falcons, the natives have come restless and seeking an element of consistency in their team. With this game and two more before the bye week, it would be incumbent for the team to calm some of the restless nerves.
If you are looking for explosive offense, both of these teams are equipped to deliver your wishes. The Bears feature strong armed Jay Cutler, an excellent, diverse running back in Matt Forte, two dynamic receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, and an undervalued TE, Martellus Bennett. The Bears also feature a rebuilt offensive line that is improving each week; a line anchored Kyle Long and FA pick up Jermon Bushrod.
The Falcons counter with the assassin, Matt Ryan, the aging but sometimes effective Steven Jackson, the ATL’s Batman and Robin (Roddy and Julio), and an intermediate game that uses the screen well with Antone Smith, Devonta Freeman, and Devin Hester. Tight end is a slow emerging position for Atlanta and the advantage is clearly in Chicago’s favor at the postion.
Like the Bears, the Falcons are in the midst of an offensive line remake. FA Jon Asamoah and former Bear first rounder Gabe Caramini are anchoring the right side while Jake Matthews and Justin Blalock secure the left side. Peter Konz is in the middle and will have his hands full upfront.
Both teams will rely on the screen game to control the tempo of the game. Look for both teams to throw the ball some 25-35 times in this game, both QBs in the 280-320 yard range, and at least a pair of touchdowns in order to keep things interesting.
Friends, there is not much to get excited about here. Mel Tucker and Mike Nolan both have seen better times as defensive coaches/coordinators. Both are trying establish an element of defensive soundness and consistency. Both teams features promise in the secondary. But where the Bears have a considerable advantage against Atlanta is in their ability to pressure the quarterback.
Otherwise, both sides feature a strong veteran presence along the front (productive advantage goes to the Bears). The Bears also feature a strong veteran presence in the linebacker corps as well as the secondary. But they are aging and not as “dominate” as Bears defenses of old. The Falcons linebackers do not instill fear in anyone or threaten to be difference makers and that may be an issue with the fire power that Chicago can unleash.
Which Atlanta team shows up on Sunday? Will they keep their foot on the gas or will the CFA throttle back in his usual conservative way? Which Jay Cutler comes to play; the aggressive, cold blooded passer or the mistake-prone, “Oh screw it” version? Can the Atlanta linebackers handle the threats that are Bennett and Forte in the passing game?
Meanwhile, will Atlanta make greater use of its own screen passing attack, using the speed and elusiveness of Freeman and Smith while saving the power of Jackson for the home stretch when time management could be a valuable asset for Atlanta?
Can Atlanta find any sort of pass rush from somewhere? Will we continue to utilize the dreaded, ineffective 4-2-5 defense, surrendering yard after yard again? If Forte can maintain his 4.2 yards per carry average, it will make for a long day for the defense. Can our CBs, Trufant and Alford, hold court against the big targets the Bears have outside?
Can we get some element of productivity out of someone in the red zone? Yes, I am calling you out, Levine Toilolo.
Can the defensive line find a much needed consistency in term of a pass rush? Chicago’s Willie Young has been outstanding for the Bears this season; he already has FIVE sacks. His numbers ALONE are more than the entire FALCONS team!! Need I say more?
IS THERE A LEGIT WIN CHANCE HERE?
Yes. The Falcons are certainly capable of winning this contest. And they should win it. The Dome will be load and the fans are ready to do their part to reverse the fortunes of the past couple of weeks. The rally cry continues to be RISE UP but as I have said time and time again, it is time that this team, the ENTIRE ORGANIZATION, MAN UP.
If focused and disciplined, the Falcons should win this game.
BEWARE OF GATHERING STORM CLOUDS THOUGH
With a tough trip to Baltimore next and then the London game versus Detroit coming up, the Falcons must have this game. Moementum is essential in order to keep the fan base as an ally. Because, trust me, more than this one native is a little restless at what we see on the field too often and what we hear coming from the sidelines, the press conferences, and the front office.
Again, there is no reason why the Falcons should lose this game. The Atlanta offense should be able to make enough plays to overcome the defensive advantage of Arizona. The Chicago offense will be equally aggressive so we will need a big play or two from our defensive unit. I certainly hope that our young secondary can take advantage of the erratic nature of Jay Cutler’s game. Going to hold serve and bring this much needed win home; Atlanta 27, Chicago 20.
So…..it’s time for your thoughts, friends.
What are you looking for from the Falcons in this contest against the Bears?
Will the Bears defense be a problem for Matt Ryan and the Falcons receivers?
Will the Atlanta offense show more balance?
Will the Falcons finish this game with a sack?
Do you think the CFA STILL has the capital to return next season if the Falcons lose this game to the Bears?
Are you as tired as I am of the 4-2-5 defense?
Are we getting our due value out of our primary free agent signings? Who would you rate as our “Most Valuable” signing and why? Our most disappointing signing and why?