Atlanta Falcons: Still in Control of Their Own Playoff Destiny

Atlanta Falcons time to Rise Up! Falcons have won the last 3 out of 4 games by an average of 15 points and after a dismal 2-3 start the Falcons are once again on the rise. Yes, the Falcons lost a tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints that had many fans accusing Mike Smith for his play calling. Running Michael Turner on a short 4th Down in OT resulted in angry fans and some naysayers. Well that is over now and the Falcons are approaching a winnable portion of their 2011-2012 schedule.

Falcons second half schedule includes 4 games against sub .500 / non-playoff teams and 4 games at home with 3 games against non-playoff teams Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Minnesota. The Falcons crystal ball forecast shows a lot of sun with a 20% chance of showers. That 20% coming against the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints.

Texans have injury issues and much of their record can be contributed to their weak divisional schedule. New Orleans Saints and the “Who Dat Nation” pose the most dangerous threat left on the schedule and the Falcons will be eager to take out some revenge at the Super Dome in front of a hostile crowd of over 70,000 on Sugar Bowl Dr.

The Falcons 4th ranked run defense will be tested in the second half of the season facing opponents with good to great running backs. The first test will be stopping Chris Johnson who has been having a poor season this year averaging only 3.4 yds. per carry but coming off of a flashback game against Carolina rushing for 130 yds.

After Chris Johnson the Falcons defense will have their hands full trying to contain future hall of famer Adrian Peterson whose season stat line reads 846 yds. rushing and 10 TD’s and he is the engine that keeps Minnesota running close in most of their games this season. Minnesota 2-7 record is terrible but a closer look shows they have lost most of their games by less than a 6 pts.

Then comes the Texans dynamic duo of Aaron Foster and Ben Tate and the #1 rushing offense in the NFL. Foster and Tate have combined for over 1426 yds. and 9 TD’s this season. Their rushing ability is lethal and will keep Jonathan Babineaux, Curtis Lofton and the Falcons run defense busy all afternoon. Aaron Foster has been having some injury issues with his hamstring this season but Ben Tate (686 yds. and 3 TD’s) has done a outstanding job of filling in for the All-Pro player.

The last test for the Falcons currently 4th ranked run defense will be Maurice Jones Drew “MJD” who despite the Jaguars overall team record this season of 3-6 is having a good season. Maurice Jones Drew has rushed for 854 yds. and 4TD’s this season through 9 games. MJD is more than just an “Oompa Loompa” he is a handle full and a menace in the backfield.

If the Atlanta Falcons are to Rise Up! and make a run at the 2011-2012 NFC playoffs this season they will have to keep up their pace in stopping the run. A tall task is ahead but what do Falcons do?

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *