You ready for some more Falcons football? I hope so, because like it or not, it’s just about 24 hours away. Here’s where our beloved, dinged-up Falcons stand heading into tomorrow night’s game.
The Falcons made a couple of major moves this week, placing Devonta Freeman on injured reserve with the hope that he can return before the end of the year. They signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio to replace Matt Bryant for at least a short time—interestingly, they signed him to a two year deal, which I hope is not a sign—and brought Jermaine Grace back to the practice squad as a developmental linebacker. The roster isn’t better for those moves, but we will hope Tavecchio can do a good job while Bryant is out.
The news is somewhat positive this week, as the Falcons seem likely to Grady Jarrett back tomorrow night. Jarrett is the team’s best defensive lineman, at least until Takk McKinley levels up, and will make a huge difference for the Falcons in their sustained battle against Saquon Barkley. Derrick Shelby could also be back in action, and he’s at the very least a solid run defender for a team that needs one right now. It looks like Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu will both play, and if they’re anywhere near 100%, this passing attack will remain high-flying. Considering Sanu didn’t really practice until Saturday, this is unexpected and delightful.
Of course, this being the Falcons, there’s also bad news. Matt Bryant is out, which means the team is going to be relying on Giorgio Tavecchio. If it comes down to a tricky field goal, I don’t love Atlanta’s chances, and I hate those kinds of nerves.
Given that the Falcons will have to put the brakes on Saquon Barkley to keep the Giants out of this one, Jarrett and Shelby are bigger additions than Ridley or Sanu will be losses. Not having Bryant, one of the most reliable legs in the business, might be a major problem.
What’s at stake?
The season, still. The Falcons got a needed win against the Buccaneers, but they’re still 2-4 and a handful of losses away from never catching up in the NFC South. If you can’t beat a crummy Giants team at home, your chances of staying alive in the NFC plummet again, no matter how many injuries have piled up.
This is a winnable game. The Giants are every bit as bad as you’d think they’d be given their record, but the way the Falcons have played in 2018, I don’t take a win for granted. They have enough weapons and just enough talent on defense to make this interesting.
That said, the Falcons are healthier than I would have dared hope heading into this one, as they’ll get back Jarrett and Shelby back and hopefully have Ridley and Sanu ready to contribute. They should be equipped to win this one, and I honestly like their chances on Monday night. Let’s get into the bye with some good vibes.