1. Many experts predicted the Falcons would travel to Chicago and beat the Bears in Week 1. Obviously, that didn’t happen. What went wrong?
All around, the Falcons just didn’t have a good gameplan going in and didn’t execute at key points in the game. The Falcons looked flat and lacked basic fundamentals such as good blocking and tackling throughout the game. The main issue for Atlanta, however, was turnovers. The offense gave the ball up three times, which is incredibly rare for a Mike Smith run Falcons team that preach good ball security and more often than not win the turnover battle.
2. Matt Ryan attempted 47 passes against the Bears. Was the Falcons pass-happy attack a product of playing from behind, or have they shifted their offensive philosophy away from the run game?
Playing from behind was for sure the reason. At the beginning of the game, the Falcons had a very good balance between the run and the pass and were looking quite dangerous. Matt Ryan started the game 11 of 12, which shouldn’t be overlooked. When Michael Turner was running the ball the offense showed potential, but after the interception by Ryan and the fumble by Turner, the balance was lost, as the Falcons went two scores down. The onus was put on Ryan to bring them back.
3. How important is this game for Matt Ryan? Much has been made about Michael Vick’s lasting popularity in Atlanta. Do you think Ryan feels added pressure to win this game because of the Vick dynamic?
It is an important game, obviously, because the Falcons are 0-1 and need a win, but I don’t see Ryan feeling any extra pressure because of Vick. He is a calm and collected guy and I do not see this situation affecting him that much. I actually think there will be more pressure for him to beat the Eagles because he is from the Philly area and grew up an Eagles fan. When you add in that he is also 0-2 against the Eagles as a starter that adds some pressure. The Eagles are seemingly one of the few teams Ryan hasn’t figured out yet.
4. What are three things the Falcons absolutely must do in order to win on Sunday night?
1. Run The Football– If the falcons can stay balanced, get out to an early lead, and control time of possession, the Falcons have a good chance to seal the victory.
2. Contain Vick– Falcons fans know all to well how explosive and dynamic Vick can be. It well be up to the front seven to hold him in the pocket for as long as they can.
3. Tackle well–This is something the Falcons did not do a good job with last week. The Falcons’ defenders must limit the explosive plays from Philly by tackling well and avoiding long runs after the catch.
5. This game is being billed as a coin flip and could likely be the type of game that is decided on the final possession. Who do you like on Sunday night and why?
It will be a very close game played at a ferocious pace. I like Atlanta to bounce back and win 24-20, primarily because I see Atlanta playing with more urgency and just flat out wanting and needing a win more. It should be a great game to watch.