The Browns are the next opponent on the docket, and the Falcons are headed to chilly Cleveland to play them tomorrow. Here’s one thing I feel really good about (unsurprisingly, it’s the offense) and one thing I’m concerned about.
Feel confident about the passing game rolling
Okay, you’re looking below and seeing that I’m worried about turnovers, and you’re wondering why I’m feeling confident about the offense in light of that. The answer is simple: Even if the Falcons do turn the ball over, they’re gonna score gobs of points. Buckets, even.
The cold is the only reason to feel pause, because otherwise the Cleveland defense is a mix of elite young players and guys who would barely start on the 2014 Falcons defense. Atlanta has carved up better units than this in the past through the air, and they’re more or less totally healthy on that side of the ball this week. They may not score 38 points, but they should score more than enough to win if the defense shows up at all.
This confidence feels weird, in a way, because the Falcons just pooped the bed against the Steelers a few weeks back and are certainly capable of playing poorly on the road. But their pattern of production this year and their weaponry suggests they won’t have many duds the rest of the way, and this shouldn’t be one of them. Unless...
Worry about turnovers
As my esteemed colleague Adnan Ikic noted, the Browns aren’t even close to the best defense in the NFL, but they’re a solid one who have covered themselves in glory when it comes to getting turnovers.
The turnover battle will really be the difference this week between the Falcons and Browns. Cleveland is the second-worst defense in the league but have the most takeaways with 23. Atlanta has the fewest giveaways with 5. Keep taking care of the ball and the good times will roll.— Adnan Ikic (@SayWhichWay) November 9, 2018
That bumps up against an Atlanta team that has been beyond stingy with the football, with just five giveaways in eight games. And yet I do worry, because Cleveland’s averaging close to three turnovers per game and they have the pass rush necessary to harry or even strip sack Matt Ryan, who is not fond of getting rid of the ball. They’ve done so behind the terror that is Myles Garrett and a very opportunistic secondary, and while Atlanta will be one of their toughest matchups of the entire year, they’re still plenty capable.
Is it likely to swing the outcome of the game if Atlanta does turn the ball over a couple of times? Yes. That’s why I’m more worried about those turnovers than I am about, say, the Cleveland ground game.