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Falcons defense vs. Chiefs offense: who wins?

The Falcons defense looked... decent last week, and hopefully that will continue against the Chiefs.

Atlanta Falcons v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons defense played had one of their better performances last week against Arizona despite playing without Desmond Trufant. This week, the Kansas City Chiefs 27th ranked offense comes into the Georgia Dome to try their luck against the Falcons. The Chiefs are not as talented as the Cardinals nor are they as aggressive in their philosophy, so this game will look a little different than last week.

Here’s how we see the key matchups shaking out.

In the trenches

We’ve seen the style of play that really gives Atlanta trouble: either power run concepts that take advantage of Atlanta’s lack of depth and size, or the style of play like San Diego or Green Bay where they run a lot of underneath routes that force a more disciplined game from Atlanta’s defense. The Chiefs are more of the latter and they rarely throw over the top. The Kansas City offensive line has been pretty mediocre this year, but their style of play makes their job a little easier than normal.

Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz, and Mitch Morse have played better than the guards but they leave a lot to be desired, so the Falcons front four will have plenty of opportunity to impact Alex Smith and make plays in the running game. If Vic Beasley and a refreshed Dwight Freeney can open up the pass rushing lanes early, other guys like Brooks Reed and Grady Jarrett should be able to maintain the pressure, but the injury of Adrian Clayborn could have a big impact on this part of the game.

This one may end up falling the Falcons way, but this group is still too inconsistent to say that they have an outright advantage.

Advantage: Push

Skill positions

As usual, this looks like a more favorable matchup for the Falcons than the line of scrimmage, but things do look less sure since Trufant is now officially on Injured Reserve. The Chiefs don’t have a David Johnson or a Larry Fitzgerald but they do have a deceptively frustrating scheme that can cut up opposing defenses no matter the personnel—it does make a huge difference, though.

Chris Conley and Tyreek Hill have both been decent for Smith but his favorite target is Travis Kelce (that guy with that TV show that makes some of us uncomfortable). Kelce is a huge target and has turned into one of the premier tight ends in the NFL, so he is the largest concern for the Falcons and, mostly, Keanu Neal.

I think the wide receivers match up well for Atlanta and that Robert Alford, Jalen Collins, and Brian Poole should be able to hold their own against this group, but it is imperative that Atlanta limit Kelce’s production. Also, if Jeremy Maclin plays after returning to practice this week, he presents a much more consistent threat for a big play, despite the fact that Alex Smith almost never throws it down the field.

I think Atlanta should win this matchup, but the trouble of defending this offense looms pretty large.

Advantage: Atlanta Falcons


Throughout the season, I think we have all learned that it is almost impossible to predict how this Falcons defense will play from game to game—from drive to drive, even. That makes this matchup even tougher because the Chiefs seem rather pedestrian at times when it comes to their offense, yet they are 8-3 and primed for a playoff push. The Falcons defense is capable of stopping this offense and continuing their encouraging play, but it all comes down to the defense being consistent enough to play two good games in a row.

It has to happen at some point, right?

Advantage: Atlanta Falcons