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.
Standing on the eve of week 3 we look back on a very sloppy game against the Eagles. We don't look as good as we did last year in the regular season and there are many more areas of concern than initially anticipated pre-week 1. However we still mustered up a win and, regardless of how we play, all that matters is getting the W. Our goal this week should be to clean up the sloppy play on both sides of the ball since we can't expect to win like that every week, but one thing’s for sure - this Bucs game is the first of 6 important inter-division battles that may determine whether we get: home-field advantage, a wild card spot or into the playoffs at all. So entering week three, we officially give you the third Best Case/Worst Case Scenario analysis for 2011
Flipping it to the Buccaneers
I get to play the role of doomsayer, as I speak about 3 areas where the Bucs can hurt us bad. The Bucs are a very strong up and coming team who will be a challenge for many years to come with the youth/strength of the roster. Many people think they are on the edge of making the playoffs this year and will definitely be right with us near the end of the season. They know how difficult the NFC South is and how important it is to win those games, they will be giving it their all and it will be a tough game for sure. So the 3 worst case scenarios for the Falcons are - Field position fails, Freeman takes the Forth and Blount puts on the kangaroo legs.
Field Position Fails: Now there has been one Falcon who's had a tough go of it since he joined the club. Touted as decent draft pick, he has yet to impress when it matters and after his illustrious 2 game career, people are already talking about shipping him off. I am talking about our Punter, Matt Bosher. This young man has not done very well to put it frankly. With the new 35 yard kickoff spot, the ball should be easy to launch beyond the end zone if you are a professional kicker right? WRONG! Mr. Bosher has only gotten 2 touch backs (neither out of the end zone if my memory serves me well) and an average of 65.4 yards per kickoff, barely scraping into the end zone. Now the average return yardage is 20.8, so nothing too bad there but wouldn't it be easier to have the ball in the end zone every time instead of counting on our special teams? And with punting he has been abysmal. He averages 35.1 yard a punt and its only been inside the 20 yard line 3 out of 12 times. Last week, his 18 yard shank and his last minute punt to DeSean Jackson (Did you not watch the NFL/Sport TV last year?) didn't help his cause. Currently he is 32nd of 33 punters in average punting yards. I say let Kroy teach him how to do it and if he doesn't get better real soon, ship him out.
Now we know that Koenan is a lot better than Bosher at punting and kicking. However our special team woes don't end there. Our kick return team is averaging 22.2 yards returning, whilst our punt return team is averaging 7.3 yards. Meanwhile, the Bucs are the 6th best kick return team with an average of 33.8 yards including a 78 yard return, but just 8.3 yard average on punting. The Bucs can be deadly in the return game and will be focused in on our returns due to Weems sparking our comeback win last year with a kickoff TD. If everyone on the special teams doesn't step up and play well, we will be looking at a long field all day while the Buccaneers field will be significantly shorter.
Freeman takes the Fourth: Matt Ryan has earned himself the nickname Matty Ice, because of his cool and collected performance all game long, even when the game is on the line in the dying minutes of the 4th quarter. However there also happens to be another young QB in the NFC south who is quite good and winning games late, his name being Josh Freeman. Now I don't know if there is talks of an Ice related nickname for Freeman, but this doesn't mean he isn't very good at bringing his team back from the brink. In the 27 games he has started, 8 of them have ended in a Freeman game winning drive, including last weeks come from behind win against the Vikings. This is compared to Ryan's 14 game winning drives out of 48 games. Now I don't believe Freeman is as good as he was last year, however he is still a very solid quarterback who could hurt us in the 4th quarter if we don't get good pressure on him and stop the run game.
Blount, the Bucs RB is a very solid runner who, despite screwing me over in Fantasy in week 1, can put up big numbers if he isn't dealt with. Our LB's will have to keep on their tackle crazy form to stop Blount from opening up their passing game. Alternatively our D-Line will have a strike at them to throw Freeman off tempo and not allow him to read our pass D. Abraham, Edwards, Duffman and whichever DT's play will have to keep up the pressure they have been applying recently, or else Freeman could make us hurt bad.
Blount puts on the kangaroo legs: Ok so I know what you are thinking... and there is a reason for the name I promise, seriously I have a video and everything.
Also notice the what happens to the guy directly behind Blount as he jumps.
Ok so fun parts aside, Blount has mad hops which he uses regularly to gain more yardage on plays. Now this play would have been a gain for maybe 4 yards had he not bounded over the tackler allowing himself to gain another 40 odd yards to the run. Now he has done this a couple times, and with decent (not phenomenal, but decent) top end speed can get some very nice gains. But he isn't a one trick pony, he is a big bruising back who can run right over you if you aren't careful. He is always fighting for yards and he is quite good at getting them, with 1000+ yards, a 5.0 y/c average and that was only in 11 games last year where he factored majorly. He is, dangerous, powerful and can hurt us a lot, if Peters and Jerry (and hopefully Babineaux) don't plug up the middle, then Lofton and 'Spoon will have their work cut out for them, needing to play just as good as they have in the last 2 games.
Unfortunately that is all we have for you this time but leave a comment or a question and we can cover any other points of interest. Please check back every week for the Best Case/Worst Case Analysis of the upcoming game. Until next time, I wish you good luck and all the best to the Falcons - this should be one hell of a game.