NFL Atlanta FalconsNew England Patriots

5 Atlanta Falcons Players New England Patriots Must Watch Out For

1 of 6

Five Falcons Players To Watch Out For

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots will play the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday night in what should be a very anticipated matchup.

But why is this matchup so big? First off, it will be the Patriots' first true test in the 2013 season. The Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have solid pieces, but those teams will likely all be picking high in the 2014 NFL Draft. In other words, the Patriots have faced three rebuilding teams thus far and have taken care of business.

The Falcons do not have a rebuilding team. Quarterback Matt Ryan and company are ready to win now. Last season, Atlanta made it to the NFC Championship Game. It wasn't a fluke either. The Falcons had been building on this for years. Not only that, but those who watched the NFC Championship Game could say that the Falcons could have won that game.

Then we move on to the 2013 NFL Draft. Even though Falcons' general manager Thomas Dimitroff did not have many needs heading in, and he boldly traded up to select University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant with the No. 22 overall pick in the draft. That conceivably puts the Falcons one step closer to winning the Super Bowl.

Despite all this Falcons' hype, the team that the Patriots are facing currently stands at 1-2. It will be desperation mode as Atlanta tries to avoid going 1-3. So with that in mind, who are some Falcons players that might prevent the Patriots from advancing to 4-0?

2 of 6

5. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers is the starting running back while Steven Jackson is hurt. Speaking of hurt, Rodgers could really hurt the Patriots in the passing game as he is one of the better screen-catching backs in the NFL.

3 of 6

4. Osi Umenyiora, DE/OLB

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Umeniyora is not what he once was, but he is still the best pass rusher on the team. He could pressure Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a couple of times.

4 of 6

3. Asante Samuel, CB

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Samuel knows Brady from their days of playing together, and he is still very capable of jumping a route or two to intercept a pass. He'll be especially dangerous considering that he's facing off against young wide receivers.

5 of 6

2. Julio Jones, WR

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

While fellow wide receiver Roddy White has been nursing an ankle sprain, Jones has been out to prove his worth. The man been one of the best receivers in the league this season. His explosiveness will be a tough test for cornerback Aqib Talib.

6 of 6

1. Matt Ryan, QB

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan is on the cusp of being an elite quarterback, though he has certainly left some drives on the table this season. He will have to finish drives if the Falcons are to win this game.