Welcome, you dirtiest of birds, to this week’s edition of Bird Watch. In this weekly segment, we will provide you a list of people, places or things which we have our eyes on.
Whether it be due to poor performance, a bad feeling or the need for an individual to RISE UP, the members of this list had better tread lightly, because we will be watching.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Falcons are on the West Coast and facing one of the NFL’s top defenses. Although Seattle provides a unique challenge, Atlanta shouldn’t be intimidated heading into this matchup.
In a prophetic moment, The Office – which is one of life’s pure gems – actually polled members of a trivia night to see who they believed would win in this matchup. The results were overwhelmingly positive for Atlanta.
Don’t listen to the question, just trust me when I tell you it was something along the lines of, “Who’s going to win this weekend’s football game between Atlanta and Seattle?”
Now that popular opinion is on our side, let’s find out who – in no particular order – we’ve got our eyes on this weekend.
The pass rush: Contrary to what many people believe, Atlanta’s outburst in the pass rushing department didn’t occur because of Denver’s banged up offensive line. Nor was it the result of Paxton Lynch looking like the epitome of a “what not to do” section in a rookie quarterback’s handbook. The reason the Falcons had such great success in getting after Lynch was because they were at the top of last week’s Bird Watch. They are once again our honorary first mention; you’re welcome, Atlanta.
Rookie defenders: Reports indicate that both Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell will play for the Falcons on Sunday. That’s great news. Now, Atlanta won’t have to try to cover Jimmy Graham with the entire defense at once. This is a tough draw for Jones and Campbell coming off of injury, but it’s exactly the reason why they were drafted. Graham finally looks like he’s rounding into form – which, ya know, yikes – and Russell Wilson’s mobility is not something to be overlooked. Jones, Campbell and Keanu Neal are going to play big roles in containing both of those players and will need to hold their own.
Jimmy Graham: Speaking of Mr. Graham, he deserves his own special mention. There is likely a lot of contempt in the hearts of Falcons fans for the Seahawks’ tight end. In the nine games he’s played against Atlanta, since he first started receiving regular playing time for New Orleans, Graham has averaged 5.4 catches on 8.2 targets for 70 yards and .9 touchdowns. Basically, he’s been very good against the Falcons. He’s been a Golden Graham.
Julio Jones: Many people don’t know this, but Julio is actually doing a favor to the rest of the league by making other receivers feel like they actually matter. He is two receiver yards behind the NFL leader, despite having gained only 16 yards against New Orleans and 29 yards against Denver. Julio is currently operating on an every-other-week schedule, which means he’s due for a big game against Seattle. He’s way too modest to admit it, which is why we love him, but the Juliocity level is about to be turned to 11. Julio is going to catch 20 passes for 500 yards and 7 touchdowns, and you can take that to the bank.
Dan Quinn: This is it. Although DQ has deflected conversation about his connection with Seattle and Pete Carroll all week, don’t let that fool you. I have it on good authority that he’s been camped out in the Cascade Mountain Range preparing for this matchup all week. That’s right, he’s going full-on Rocky IV. His talk of fast and physical is slowly but surely becoming apparent with this team, but Quinn may very likely run out of the tunnel on Sunday with a ferocious beard and a 12th man-silencing battle cry. There have been unverified reports that on calm, quiet nights this week a faint yelling can be heard coming down from Mt. Rainer. That’s not the Abominable Snowman, that’s DQ screaming “CARROLL” for the world to hear.
Ciara: You’ve done well infiltrating the enemy’s ranks, Mrs. Wilson. Now that Sunday is nearly here, your job is almost complete. As one of Atlanta’s own, we know that you’ve chosen this week to mention to Russell how he always forgets to leave the lights on when he leaves the room and that he doesn’t take you on surprise dates anymore. We thank you for keeping him preoccupied and unable to focus on football due to problems back at home. Your mission is almost over, and Atlanta thanks you for your service.
New Orleans Saints: At some point, it’s just going to be mean to mention how bad the Saints are. Eh, no it’s not. They are horrible, and it’s awesome.