The Atlanta Falcons face the Los Angeles Chargers team after being swept by the New Orleans Saints in the season divisional match up. Although their record doesn’t show it, the Chargers are a team that’s loaded with talent. They’re particularly talented up front defensively and have some good talent at the skilled positions on the offensive side of the ball. Actually, the Chargers are one of those teams that are a bit of an enigma where their record should be a lot better than what it is currently. However, the Chargers, like the Falcons, seem to constantly get bitten by the injury bug. Here’s who to watch today that could propel the Falcons to a win against the Chargers.
The Falcons Offensive Line had a MUCH better game against the New Orleans Saints in a losing effort. However, today they go up against a EDGE group led by one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Joey Bosa. Uchenna Nwosu is also promising at the other side of the line taking the majority of the snaps after Melvin Ingram was placed on IR for a knee injury. Jake Matthews has certainly been his usual solid self at Left Tackle, and with Kaleb McGary being listed at out, Matt Gono is likely to take his snaps at Right Tackle. He’s one of the more promising young players on the team, but Gono will be thoroughly tested against this pass rushing group. The Falcons offense has a shot of taking advantage of the Chargers’ subpar secondary group if Matthews and Gono can keep the Chargers’ most dangerous rusher at bay.
Keenan Allen is one the best wideouts in the NFL that no one talks about. I love his game as he’s also one of most complete receivers in the league and is an elite route runner. However, AJ Terrell has certainly been no slouch in his first season as a CB in the NFL. It is certainly to be expected that Terrell will be seen often manned up against Allen, and I honestly can’t wait to watch the match up. Terrell has been a willing tackler, is rarely caught out of position and is an excellent competitor. I expect there will be some wins and losses, but how Terrell fares will be one of the determining factors on how the defense plays today.
Although he’s been his normal disruptive self this season, Jarrett really hasn’t had a big breakout game statistically, especially in the passing game. Going against the Chargers interior OL could be a great opportunity for Jarrett to take over the game and harass rookie QB Justin Herbert the entire game. The Chargers have been especially weak up front, especially in the interior. Center Dan Feeney is susceptible to both speed and power and Left Guard Forrest Lamp has been a bit of a disappointment. If Jarrett can have a big and disruptive game against this front, the entire defense will benefit.
Although the Falcons had another disappointing loss against their division rival last week, I’ve actually been impressed with how they’ve been able to bounce back from losses under Interim HC Raheem Morris. What’s even more interesting is that even in their losses under Morris, the Falcons have been fairly competitive. Now, don’t twist this is to thinking that I’m suggesting Morris should be made the permanent HC. It has just been refreshing to see the team actually being competitive on a more consistent basis. I do expect the Falcons to play better overall today against the Chargers, but considering how disappointingly inconsistent this offense has been schematically, don’t be surprised if this is a close game when all is said and done.