Five Atlanta Falcons to Look for in the 2013 NFC Championship Game
These Five Atlanta Falcons Will play a Key Role in the NFC Championship
There are just two teams left in the NFC fighting for a chance to meet the New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 Super Bowl. The Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers are two very different teams, but they are the number one and number two seeds, so this is how it was supposed to be.
At first glance the Falcons seem to be in a mismatch. Although they have an explosive offense, their defense is listed a questionable. The 49ers have finished the season in the top five for rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed and points scored. That’s not the only thing the Falcons have to worry about. Last week, the 49ers put on a clinic in front of their hometown crowd rushing for over 300 yards and had almost 600 yards of total offense.
This week, the Falcons have another chance to get a “W” in front of their home crowd. Last week, they got out early against the Seattle Seahawks, but lost the lead with very little time on the clock. QB Matt Ryan shook off the criticism and led his team to a game winning field goal drive and they squeaked into the NFC Championship game.
The Falcons will have to start the game early scoring and getting their crowd behind their defense. If they get down early, they are not going to have the best of times trying to dig their way out of a hole. Here are five Falcons' players that should even the game and help them dig their way out of a hole if necessary.
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Falcons WR Roddy White needs to figure out a way to get behind the 49ers defense, obviously. How does he do that? The Falcons need to set up the 49ers defenders. They need to start out with a few comeback routes, hit them with a few quick slants, crossing patterns and then nail them with a double move that got the Seahawks last week. The 49ers have an All-Pro safety in Dashon Goldson. They were able to beat Earl Thomas last week and he is the other All-Pro safety in the NFC.
Falcons S Thomas DeCoud finished the season with 76 total tackles and six interceptions. If the Falcons want to have a chance in this game he is going to have to be all over the field. He needs to create turnovers and come back to the football as soon as he sees QB Colin Kaepernick cross the line of scrimmage. DeCoud had a quiet game against the Seahawks; he has to be a little louder this week.
The 49ers are not going to have trouble with a slow back like Michael Turner, so Jacquizz Rodgers has to come out of the back field and be ready to catch a lot of passes and take a lot of hard hits. The Falcons need to use him on third down every single possession and mix him in on first and second down throughout the game. If Rodgers has over 100 total yards, the Falcons should be in a good position to win the game.
DE John Abraham is officially listed as questionable, but his containment will be a necessity if he is healthy enough to play. Kaepernick likes to run outside the pocket and run straight through the heart of the defense if you let him. The key will be to keep a tight pocket around him and if he does take off, they have to swat the football out of his overly tattooed arms, hit him hard and this will make him afraid to run the football.
QB Matt Ryan told his critics to “shut up” just by winning last week. He needs to come out firing. Getting a quick start and willing his team to finish will be a huge part of his success. He needs to do a better job leading his team. Also, he needs to protect the football. If the Falcons do not win the turnover battle, they are going to lose this football game. They need big plays all over the field and that starts with Ryan spreading the ball around like butter.