Well, isn’t this a surprise? The Atlanta Falcons get back to .500 in a heated rivalry game against the New Orleans Saints that came down to the wire.
While the Falcons squandered a big lead, the legend that is Matt Ryan lead the team back to get the win. Although it certainly wasn’t ideal that it had to come down to the wire, scoring 27 points against the Saints defense was certainly noteworthy.
This coming Sunday, the Falcons have another tough task ahead going against the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys. The good news is that there is a good level of familiarity with the Cowboys’ defensive scheme under former head coach Dan Quinn. However, talent-wise, let’s see how the Falcons match up against the Cowboys.
In the trenches
The Cowboys certainly have some talent upfront. However, the team has had some tough losses. Defensive End Demarcus Lawrence has been on the IR since week 1 with a foot injury, and just recently Randy Gregory has been put on the IR for a calf injury. One of the likely replacements will be Tarell Basham, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Micah Parsons get some looks coming off the edge as well.
The Falcons offensive line had a decent showing against the Saints’ defensive line last week. However, a lot of it can be attributed to game planning and scheme. It’s certainly good to see some improvement and continuity in this offensive line, but this will be yet another tough test.
The Skill Positions
Now this will be a very interesting matchup for the Falcons. Rookie Micah Parsons, although he may see snaps at the EDGE, has mostly played off ball for the Cowboys. Former Falcons Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee are also getting significant snaps. Trevon Diggs has been amazing and opportunistic at the cornerback position, as he has 7 interceptions on the season. Dare I say, the players on the back end have been “fast and physical.”
The Falcons still have some great weapons for Matt Ryan. Although Calvin Ridley will sorely be missed, the talent and versatility of Cordarrelle Patterson brings a new and different dynamic to the team. Although listed as a running back, he has shown that he can be a vertical threat and a complete mismatch against anyone that attempts to cover him.
Kyle Pitts is getting lots of attention now, but he’s beginning to show that he can and will produce regardless. It will certainly take contributions from others like Russell Gage, Jr. and Olamide Zaccheaus, but with Matt Ryan at the helm, the Falcons should be able to hold their own.
This is a game where I feel that if the Falcons are to have a chance against the Cowboys, the offense is going to have to show up in a major way. Under Arthur Smith, this Falcons offense has proven that they can put points up on any defense.
Although anything is possible, I just don’t foresee quarterback Dak Prescott having two consecutive poor performances, especially at home. If the Falcons can control the clock, take their shots when they’re there and continue their red zone production, they have a chance of besting the Cowboys.