This post is the second part to Turner_The _Burner's post Best Case Scenario vs. The Vikings. It can be read when he posts it.
It's that time of the week again when Turner_The_Burner and I, dunlagh, will give you a breakdown of the 3 best case and 3 worst case situations for the game. These will focus on different parts of the Falcons game where they could soar or suffer against our opponents. Obviously we’re Falcons fans, and have a bit more knowledge of the Dirty Birds than some other teams, so if you’re a visitor or just an NFL purist and we make a shocking mistake, please call us out on it! Other than that I hope you enjoy our work.
Its the home stretch and we are blessed with a string of winnable games, allowing us a very managable shot at making atleast the Wild Card spot. The Titans game showed us our potential for the most part with impressive run defense and holding Hasselbeck to some average stats before he went out of the game. Locker made us look bad, especially against a rookie making his 1st major contribution to a game, so we know we still have room to improve but its a great sign going forward. So entering week 12, we give you the 10th best case/worst case scenario for 2011.
Flipping it to the Vikings
I get to play the role of doomsayer, as I speak about 3 areas where the Vikes can hurt us bad. The Vikings are in a rebuilding phase but have some nice offensive pieces with AP and Ponder, Jarred Allen and the Williams Wall are still the face of the defense but they have struggled this year as well, however they have looked very good at times with Ponder under center giving the Packers some trouble in their 1st match up. Thankfully we don't have to deal with AP but that doesn't mean we will beat, but it does improve our chances. So the 3 worst case scenarios for the Falcons are - Ridiculous Rookies, When Allen Attacks and The bad kind of Special.
Ridiculous Rookies: Christian Ponder was thrust into the starting lineup earlier this year due to McNabb's uninspiring play. And almost repeating Matt Ryan's impressive feat of throwing a TD pass to Jenkins on his first throw, Ponder's 1st throw (also to Jenkins) was downed at the 1 yard line. This leads me to believe that Ponders career will be just short of Ryan's, or something like that. Ponder has been one of the few highlights for Vikings fans this year and he will probably be their starter for years to come. He has shown brilliance in flashes, especially in his winning effort against the Panthers where he threw for 1 TD, 238 yards and 64.3% completion. Given a chance he could do some serious damage. Now I wouldn't be so worried about a rookie QB had it not been for Jake Locker's impressive showing against us last week. Despite throwing for just 140 yards and 47.4% completion, he still played smart, got 2 TD's and looked like he could grab an unlikely come from behind win. Locker looked smart and showed even a rookie could hurt our defence, it is true Ponder has a worse supporting cast, especially with AP out, but he could have a very nice game if we don't apply solid pressure.
When Allen Attacks: Jarred Allen is a beast, so much of a beast that even without Ray Edwards to balance the pressure, he has amassed 13.0 sacks and is on pace to break a single season sack record of 22.5. Allen provides enormous pressure from the end and will no doubt be a huge test for Will Svitek, if he can hold Allen to 1.0 sacks or less, with limited pressure on Ryan, I say he deserves the job over Sam Baker as that would be a good effort for anyone, let alone a backup. Inside the Williams Wall (Now reduced to just Kevin Williams) has been allot less impressive this year but will still provide a test for our run it up the middle tactic as he provides a solid plug in the center. Using a good dose of Rodgers to the outside could really help the matter but if we play the Murlakey way, then we could see allot of crumbling pockets and pressure from their D-Line. Our O-line will have to step up to allow Ryan and Turner the space they need to operate and succeed.
The bad kind of special: Not long ago I noticed a post regarding Weems and his effectiveness to the team, I then noticed his reeling in a couple passes in the last game, either Mike Smith reads the Falcoholic or that in fact Weems was losing his value in the team and needed to step it up. Eric Weems has had a very odd year, some days he makes some great returns and really pressures the opposing special teams, providing us with good field position, then other games he lets the ball bounce inside their 5 yard line and put us in a terrible spot. He also swaps between tackling machine and drawing multiple penalties when on the kicking side. With Bosher now stepping up and providing a reliable Kicker and last line defender, he we need Weems to return to his 2010 form so we can have a dangerous and well rounded special teams. Marcus Sherels, Percy Harvin and Lorenzo Booker deal with the Kick/Punt returns for the most part and have the potential to break out (despite our solid special teams coverage this year) as they have averaged over 25 yards a kick return, with Harvin also grabbing 1 TD during that time.
Unfortunately that is all we have for this week. But we will be back, we always are. A win here would keep us on track for a playoff spot but a loss would severely hurt our chances of extending our season. But until next time, I wish you good luck and all the best to the Falcons - this should be a great game.