This is it, gang. This is the game where the Falcons can drill into peoples' minds with some sort of mind drill that they are a team to be taken seriously.
Fewer and fewer people deny that the Falcons are a good team, but going 3-0 with an emphatic win over the Patriots would dissolve most lingering doubts. It would also put the Falcons in prime position for a playoff run, given that our schedule is fair until we reach the dreaded New Orleans Saints a few weeks out.
This game will hinge on our defense, methinks. If they can make things happen and Mike Peterson gets (yawn) yet another fumble recovery or two or three or four, we should be in excellent shape. If they struggle, Matt Ryan will have to fire more darts into the end zone than a wildlife biologist. Not that I'm saying he can't, of course. Nothing's impossible for Matt Ryan, and I include teleportation and traveling back in time to prevent the Hindenburg from crashing in that assessment.
So now that I'm done rambling, care to look at some links? Of course you would.
- Might as well forget Jerious Norwood for this game. He's questionable and hasn't practiced the last three days, so I'd expect Man-ephant Jason Snelling to rumble his way into our hearts once more. Get better soon, Jerious! A home run hitter would be a nice weapon to have against the Patriots.
- Could the Patriots be without both Randy Moss and Wes Welker? Welker's been not practicing for most of the week and looked unlikely since Monday, but Moss is a surprising late addition to the injury report, according to the Boston Herald. Without either of those guys, the Patriots would look a little less dangerous. We could use all the help we can get. Welker says he'll play, but we'll see.
- The mighty Canadian Press writes that Thomas Dimitroff, general manager extraordinaire, appears to be following the Patriots blueprint. I think everyone who has ever come out of the Patriots organization has to get used to being compared to how that regime did things, but it's still a flattering comparison because the Patriots were knocking every draft out of the park for several years. With time, people will start saying guys draft like Dimitroff.
- ESPN's Pat Yasinskas would like you to put the ball in Michael Turner's hands, rinse and repeat. The Falcons will do well if he gets plenty of carries, he argues. He's probably got a good point, but I'd like to think we'd give him the ball if we were winning to grind down the clock and score a few more times. We should try to put the fear of God into the secondary sooner than later.
- Much is being made of Tom Brady's middling play through most of the first two games. Yeah, he appears to have turned off god mode for a few, but he's still a very good quarterback and there's a lot of hand wringing for a guy coming off of major surgery in the first eighth of the season. That said, it'd be nice to make him look downright terrible this week.
Matt Ryan's homecoming! Sort of! He did play college football in New England! To his eternal credit, Ryan's focusing on the game and politely reminding ravenous sportswriters that he can always go to the Cheers bar later. Good man, Matty Snowballs.