We’re midway through the workweek, which means our Saints loss hangovers have mainly subsided and we’re dipping into the well of cautious optimism for Sunday. The Bengals last came to town in October of 2010, a meeting which saw the Falcons come away with a victory. We’ll lean on that and hope for a similar outcome as we head through the week. For today? Piping hot Falcoholinks bright and early.
Benefit or doubt?
Coach Dan Quinn has transformed the Falcons since his arrival in 2015. He’s put an emphasis on forging bonds through brotherhood, brought some aggression to a team that once slunk off the field after a late hit on Matt Ryan, and revitalized a defense that’s been feeble since the time of Pangaea.
The Football Gods, angry and merciless as they are, have taken a metaphysical scythe to Atlanta’s defense, leaving a potential top-five unit in utter disarray. Free agent options are available, but at a long-term cost that may imperil the Falcons’ ability to secure their top-tier talent. Dan Quinn told us that the team would turn inward to fill the defensive holes, and David Walker argues that he deserves the benefit of the doubt in that decision.
The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz provides the counterpoint to that argument, preferring that the Falcons seek outside help.
Tip-toeing between those two schools of thought, on Tuesday afternoon the Falcons brought back a familiar face in safety Sharrod Neasman and signed linebacker Bruce Carter. Not big name free agent pieces, but quality depth acquisitions nevertheless.
Benefit or doubt? Pick your poison.
Falcons - Saints 101
The offense looked near omnipotent at points, special teams failed when it could least afford to, and the defense gave up enough yards that it registered as a destination outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Google Maps. This was a game the Falcons should have won and managed to lose, in large part due to shoddy defensive play.
A.J. Green unavailable?
Falcons’ superstar wide receiver Julio Jones and Bengals superstar wide receiver have never once faced off in an NFL game, and this marquee matchup of two of the league’s best may be in doubt for Sunday. A.J. Green suffered a groin injury in the Bengals’ loss to the Panthers, and his status is up in the air for Week 4.
Desperate for a win at home, Falcons fans would of course relish the opportunity to face Cincinnati without A.J. Green. But in all honesty, we’re eager to see two of the NFL’s most dynamic receivers go head-to-head.
Green’s status will of course be updated as the week moves along.
What worked and what hurt
Calvin Ridley was near unstoppable against the Saints, Matt Ryan continued his recent high-level of play, and Vic Beasley made an appearance on our plane of existence.
But mixed in with all the positives were some glaring negatives that turned the tide of the game. Give ‘em a look in this week’s edition of Hat Tips & Head-Scratchers.