We are back by a whole lot of popular demand... ok there is a slight chance there was no demand at all but we are back regardless for a brand new season of Best Case/Worst Case.
But we must take this season one game at a time and for each of those games Turner_The_Burnerand I, dunlagh, will give you a breakdown of the 3 best case situations for the game and 3 worst case situations. These will focus on different parts of the Falconsgame 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.
The Falcons 2011 campaign starts out with a lot of expectations for the club to produce and many have dubbed this a Super Bowl or Bust season for us, with our new players like Ray Edwardsand Julio Jones expected to make an immediate and significant impact, changing the face and identity of the Falcons we know so well. Our 2010 campaign ended in tears for many as we missed out on the NFC championship game after getting blown out by the Packers. Our strong 13-3 regular season didn't translate into playoff success and The Falcons are ready to prove naysayers wrong and win in the postseason. We enter this season with very mixed expectations, some think we are a top 5 team, others don't believe we will make the playoffs and some remain unsure due to the quiet nature in which we do things. One thing’s for sure - the So entering week one, we officially give you the first Best Case/Worst Case Scenario analysis for 2011
Flipping it to the Bears
I get to play the role of doomsayer, as I speak about 3 areas where the Bear can hurt us bad. The Bears are very underrated this season, with many people doubting they will make the playoffs, despite having the 2nd best record in the NFC last year and significantly challenging the Packers in the NFC championship game. The Bears have a very tallented defense and a new look offense that could be very deadly. So the 3 worst case scenarios for the Falcons are - Peppers with pressure, players aren't settled and Turner gets stuffed.
Peppers pressures:Matt Ryan, as many of us know, is an excellent quarterback - probably a top 10 QB in the NFL with potential to rise even further up the list in years to come. However he isn't perfect and he definitely plays better when he has time to throw the ball. With Julius Peppers, who some consider to be the best DE in the game today, coming after Ryan there is a genuine concern that Ryan will get rushed into forcing some throws. Peppers is a proven pass rusher, picking up 8.0 sacks last year to bring his career total to 89.0, while he also got 2 forced fumbles just for good measure. Unfortunately for us, he makes people around him look better too, with his LE Israel Idonijealso getting 8.0 sacks and 2 FF. With 8 seasons under his belt Idonije has gotten 16.0 sacks in his career, meaning in 1 season with Peppers he produced at a level equal to his past 7 seasons combined. Sam Baker, now in his 4th year, has a fair bit of experience playing against Peppers (as he used to be a Panther) so hopefully he will know how to deal with Julius. Regardless there is a strong chance of Peppers hitting Ryan at some stage. If this gets him out of his rhythm there’s a good chance that Matty Ice could make a few mistakes - and with the Bears new star saftey Brandon Meriweather (assuming he is playing) the Bears secondary could force a couple turnovers.
Players aren't settled:The Falcons got a fair few new players this offseason including Julio Jones, Ray Edwards, James Sanders, Jacquizz Rodgersand Kelvin Hayden (to name a few). These new additions are going to be very important to the Falcons success in the coming year; Edwards will bring a legitimate pass rush alongside John Abraham, JJ and Jacquizz will provide the speed and explosiveness we previously lacked and Sanders and Hayden will provide a few more competent players in our secondary. However, this bunch haven't been a part of the Falcons squad for very long (especially with the lockout) and aren't used to the playbook like our veterans are. This leads me to believe two possible things may happen: our new players will see less snaps now compared to later in the season, and/or mistakes will be made. I remember early last year our defence gave up a couple easy, big plays due to rookies and new players making errors in coverage. These problems were fixed later in the year because people got more familiar with the playbook but at the start of the season there is a chance they might falter. JJ, Big Play Ray and Rodgers looked across the playbook in preseason and I think they will play well for us, however Sanders and Hayden have been with the team for about a week and have no game time experience with the Falcons so (if they play) there could be mixed results. The play of new defensive acquisition will be a big factor in this one, especially when speedsters like Johnny Knox, Matt Forteand Devin Hester are on the other side of the ball.
Turner gets stuffed: Michael Turner had the 3rd most rushing yards in the NFL last year, however he has run into some scrutiny lately about his high level of snaps per year, and the workload the Falcons have put onto him. Despite adding Julio Jones, it is still widely known that The Falcons are a run first team. However our offensive line is a bit fresh this year and with Todd McClure out for this game we will have 2 new starters in our O-Line at Soldier Field. With a new line there is a possibility they don't pick up their blocks as well or create the holes necessary for Turner, but this isn't the only issue that could stop Turner. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are also out there to stop Turner at every chance. Brian Urlacher was one of the best MLB's back in his day and despite being on the wrong side of 30 he still is a dominant LB who consistently gets 100+ tackles a year and given the chance can smother Turner. Briggs is also a 100+ tackle a season guy who can shut down the run when needed (despite contract issues, I believe is still going to play). On top of that the Bears new DT Amobi Okoye will provide even more pressure against Turner at the line (Okoye is listed as the 3rd DT on the depth chart but I assume he will have ample playing time if he doesn't start). Turner will have a tough time getting going against a formidable D-Line and LB's.
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 - let’s hope we can start the season on a strong note.