We know the quick expectations for Sunday’s Falcons Packers game: each team’s elite offense cuts through the other team’s defense like a hot knife through a wheel of Green Bay cheese. It will almost certainly be a high scoring game, but the young defense (outside of Jonathan Babineaux, who just recently got his old man strength) has been stepping up in recent weeks.
It’s been a little tough to explain. No one would suggest the Falcons have a top defense, but they have been steadily improving all season. How improved? Samuel Feldman of numberFire looked at Atlanta’s scrappy defense.
We’ve considered some of the reasons Atlanta is still at the bottom of the league in defense, including giving up plenty of garbage points in the 4th quarter. That’s about as far as our analytical thinking went, but Feldman went a bit further. Since the bye week, the Falcons have given up nearly 40 fewer yards and 8 fewer points per game. Woah.
Wowza. Early season Falcons were pretty weak. Vic Beasley was invisible the first month. Robert Alford alternated between crippling penalties, being burned, and making an amazing play. Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell have turned into speedy playmakers. Even Jalen Collins went from healthy scratch to starting corner.
The Falcons need everything they can get from the defense with Aaron Rodgers on deck. If they can keep up and play up to the 15th best defense in the league, the Falcons should make it to the Super Bowl.