We’re under 24 hours away from the next game, and with the Falcons having a bye week last week, it’s an excellent time to check in on the status of this football team. Let’s take a look at where the Falcons stand heading into tomorrow’s matchup.
The Falcons made one significant move this past week, adding versatile offensive lineman Zane Beadles to the mix. The team has added Austin Pasztor, Rees Odhiambo and now Beadles in the last couple of weeks to an offensive line missing Brandon Fusco and Andy Levitre. Beadles will start out at tackle, a position the Falcons have Ty Sambrailo at and where they are cultivating Matt Gono, and it’ll be interesting to see if he works his way into playing time. The Falcons aren’t stacking up that much depth along the line for no reason, I’d wager.
No Matt Bryant and surprisingly, no Robert Alford. The former was expected and the latter was unexpected, but it wouldn’t be a week of Falcons football without some major injuries.
Without Bryant, Giorgio Tavecchio will kick again. Tavecchio was the NFC Special Teams player of the week against the Giants in Week 7 after coming off the street and nailing three kicks, and he’ll get another shot to prove to the Falcons that he deserves a longer look down the line. The kicking situation is an interesting one at the moment, with the Falcons having absolutely no reason to turn their back on Bryant if he’s healthy, but Italian Ice also looking pretty darn good.
Without Alford, the Falcons will start Isaiah Oliver. The second round pick hasn’t looked ready for primetime yet, but he was a favorite of draftniks and the team alike for a reason, and that length and ability should start to translate into quality play at some point. A week against a middling Washington passing attack would be an excellent place for it to. Without Alford, the Falcons will also likely have Blidi Wreh-Wilson active, giving them quality depth for this one.
What’s at stake?
Still the season. You have road matchups with the Packers and NFC South opponents coming, not to mention a home game against the Ravens, and you can probably only afford two losses if you want to make the playoffs. That means a game like this is a must-win, period, regardless of Washington’s record or defensive line or the fact that this is a road matchup. Win or get ready to increase your margin of difficulty to a borderline impossible level.
Another winnable game. The Falcons have two road games in their next three matchups, but they’re all against teams with significant flaws, starting here with a Washington team that has been left behind by the offensive revolution sweeping the NFL this season. I like Atlanta’s chances of limiting one of the last challenging offenses they’ll face all year and weathering a very good Washington defense to emerge with (what else?) another close victory. 4-4 would be pretty sweet.