As if letting another second half lead slip away in Week 3 wasn’t gut wrenching enough, knowing you’ll have to play a three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in Tom Brady prime-time the following Sunday where the whole country will be judging your every move is a whole new ball game. Mike Smith and his Atlanta Falcons are well aware of this already, as every member of the team came to work on their days off Monday to hit the weight room and watch some film on this very capable New England Patriots offense.
The Patriots may be 3-0, but don’t let their record fool you. If it weren’t for Brady, the Pats would be 0-3. To his credit, he has been able to make his new receiving corps look prestigious, despite losing wide receiver Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos, and being without tight end Rob Gronkowski (arm) and wideout Danny Amendola (leg). The Falcons’ top priority must be to pressure Brady. Brady’s accuracy is equivalent to an Olympic sharp-shooter, and he will without a doubt try to pick on this young Falcon secondary. It also does not help that the Falcons’ pass defense ranks 25th in the NFL.
If Atlanta is going to decide to step up in terms of offensive efficiency, this Sunday against New England under the roof of the Georgia Dome is a good time to start. Compared to their previous opponents this year, the Patriots have yet to go up against an offense as explosive as the Falcons. The Falcons have outscored opponents 31-0 in the first quarter this season, and wide receiver Julio Jones currently leads the league in receiving yards with 373. Also, Falcons backs Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers both looked solid last week on the ground, putting up 146 total rushing yards against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots’ run defense currently ranks 24th in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed, so establishing a running game early is crucial for quarterback Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense. It is imperative that the Falcons offense keeps racking up the points and building a big cushion for their weaker defense.
The Falcons and Patriots are currently tied 6-6 in their all-time regular season series record. It helps that the Falcons have a 34-7 record at home since 2008, but come Sunday the Falcons better be ready to rise up. Pulling off a win like this will definitely make their chances of reaching the postseason seem reachable.