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Atlanta Falcons talk: Will the ground game get going against Green Bay?

Can Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman kick it into high gear this week with some help from their blockers?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons put together a pretty lackluster game on the ground against the Chicago Bears, and the reasons for that were myriad.

  • The Bears have a good defensive front—one we underrated—and they gameplanned to stop the Falcons effectively;
  • Wes Schweitzer had a rough game, putting pressure on the rest of the offensive line;
  • Tevin Coleman, in particular, didn’t work very well with the holes he was given, though he was effective as a receiver.

There were also some fair questions about the running plays Steve Sarkisian did call, but wherever you want to point the finger, the Falcons turned in a pretty disappointing game whilst running. The question is, will that drought continue against the Packers?

I think the answer is no, but with some healthy caveats. The Falcons have run the ball well against Green Bay the last two times out, putting up a combined 90 yards on 19 carries last October in a game Tevin Coleman missed, and 101 yards on 30 carries in the NFC Conference Championship game. In both of those efforts, however, those numbers were goosed by strong performances from Terron Ward (6 carries, 46 yards) and Matt Ryan (3 carries, 23 yards), while Freeman in particular averaged well under four yards per carry.

Green Bay’s defensive front is nasty, particularly on the interior, and they are capable of limiting the effectiveness of this attack. Will they be able to force the Falcons into being a one dimensional offense, though? I’m considerably less pessimistic about that, and I think you’ll see Atlanta pick up about 100 yards on the ground, run in all four quarters, and thus be able to maintain balance on offense.

Discuss this very question, and then use this as your Falcons open thread for the night. Enjoy!