The Atlanta Falcons know that the Arizona Cardinals have an athletic bunch in their secondary. That is why the Falcons will try to run the ball early and often against the 24th ranking rushing defense. This is an opportunity for RB Michael Turner to do some damage coming off a 15 yard effort in a loss to the New Orleans Saints. Pay no attention to the fact that he is officially listed as probable with a groin injury.
The Falcons have not needed to run the ball this season. QB Matt Ryan has been great leading his team to a 8-1 record. If he continues at his current pace he will finish the season in the top 3 of the MVP voting. The Falcons offense is 26th in the rushing. It’s kind of the last thing on their mind similar to the Saints.
I believe the Falcons do not want to give corner backs Patrick Peterson or William Gay any chances to put points on the board. The Cardinals need to think pass first, but always be ready for the run. This can be difficult, but the Cardinals defense is fast. Giving up 3 or 4 yards per carry is not a bad thing because a third down stop is always possible. These two corner backs have the talent to shutdown the likes of WR Julio Jones and Roddy White.
The Cardinals do not need a lot of three and outs, but to win this game they will need to limit the Falcons opportunities in the red zone. Unfortunately for the the Cardinals, this is not a week they can afford to bend like the style they are accustomed to playing.
The Cardinals will need to force turnovers and hit Turner right in the mouth on every play. They need to make him scared to run the ball. That way the Falcons will be forced to pass which will lead to more opportunities for Cardinals to capitalize on mistakes that are made.
However the Falcons decide to play the Cardinals it will ultimately be up to the offense to keep up with Ryan’s high powered air attack. Still, the last thing the Cardinals need is Turner breaking off a 40 yard run right through the heart of their defense.
Follow Kase Brammer on Twitter @KBlive33