The Atlanta Falcons are 2-4 and heading into their first and only Monday night game of the season against the New York Giants. Another must-win tilt (they all are, at this point), and the Falcons may be short-handed on offense with both Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu nursing injuries.
Matt Ryan will have to put the team on his back with a limited supporting cast, but with the Giants allowing 27 points per game, the scoring opportunities will certainly be there. You’ve got one extra day to get ready for this one, so start your weekend with today’s edition of Falcoholinks.
Our leader is gone
In a season where no one is truly safe from the injury bug, this one really cuts deep. The lifeblood of the team — the motivator, fearless torchbearer, and unquestioned leader of the Atlanta Falcons has alas been felled by injuries as well. The team announced Thursday morning that Freddie Falcon would be placed on IR for the remainder of the season, robbing this football team of another irreplaceable member.
Dan Quinn was quite cagey when describing the nature of Freddie’s injury and the suggested recovery track — there’s disconcerting murmurs about wing ligaments — but was clear that he would be unable to return for 2018. We wish him the very best and hope to see him back early next year.
Matt Ryan continues to make history
With any semblance of a defense, this 2-4 team could easily be 5-1 or 4-2. Matt Ryan has certainly done his part to keep the offense rolling in spite of the defense’s ability to make stops, and his first six games have put him in the history books among some elite company.
His recent run of stellar play is going to have to continue if the Falcons have any hope of getting into the playoffs, which means he’ll be spreading the ball around to some unique targets if both Ridley and Sanu are sidelined.
Ah, some welcome news on the injury front for once! Both Grady Jarrett and Derrick Shelby returned to practice yesterday, and although neither have been confirmed as good to go for Monday, it’s a very encouraging sign. For what it’s worth, Grady seems confident that he’ll be good to go:
Grady Jarrett on his ankle: “I’m practicing (today). If I’m on the field I’m good. Don’t worry about that.”— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) October 18, 2018
Grady’s presence on the interior defensive line gives the Falcons at least some hope of limiting the ground production of Giants’ rookie running back Saquon Barkley.
Taking a closer look
Our Allen Strk zeroed in on the offensive explosion against the Buccaneers, and provided another must-read film breakdown of why the unit is thriving. Allen takes a look at five distinct plays that demonstrate the cohesion between Steve Sarkisian’s playcalling and the execution on the field.
Both Ryan and Sarkisian have mostly caused the pitchforks to be put away, consistently moving the offense down the field and taking full advantage of scoring opportunities.
Falcons offense vs. Giants defense
The Falcons’ passing attack has been relentless of late, but the game on the ground has left much to be desired. How does Atlanta’s offense match up with New York’s defense? Our David Walker takes a look.
If Olivier Vernon is out, this Giants defense doesn’t offer much in the way of pass rush and they’re in the bottom quarter of the league in rushing yards allowed. If Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith were ever going to give Matt Ryan a rest, this would be the game.
Jeanna on Fox 5
Our own Jeanna Thomas has been featuring your best tweets in her segment on Fox 5’s Thursday Night Kickoff, and this week she wanted to know what it would take to get Julio Jones into the end zone. Ghosts, disguises — all reasonable considering the touchdown drought.
Jeanna will be soliciting questions weekly, but refrain from giving legitimate answers. This is for fun, ya’ll. In a year where there’s been more downers than anything, a little levity is necessary.