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Falcons defense vs. Bills offense: Can Atlanta slow down Josh Allen?

Atlanta is going to need a miracle and that may not be enough.

Buffalo Bills v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Falcons barely survived a Detroit Lions team missing their starting QB. Now they go on the road to face a Buffalo team that just beat the Patriots in New England. With the Falcons offense struggling to put points on the board lately, the defense has to be at their best on Sunday.

Can they do it? You already know the answer.

In the trenches

If you’ve been here before, you know the story. At this point, Atlanta should probably consider blowing up the entire defensive front. Even Grady Jarrett - who is normally a beast in the middle - has had an up and down season by his standards. Dante Fowler is likely playing in his last couple of games in Atlanta while guys like Steven Means don’t move the needle at all. This is the worst pass rushing unit in the league. On the positive side, guys like Anthony Rush have carved out a nice role in making this a decent unit against the run.

Surprisingly, the Bills offensive line isn’t as dominant as you might think. Dion Dawkins on the blindside is good at keeping the QB clean but rookie right tackle Spencer Brown is struggling in that area. They do have several guys on the COVID list on the interior of the line and starting left guard Ike Boettger ruptured his achilles against the Patriots and is out for the rest of the year. Tackle Ryan Bates finished out the game there and played well, however. Center Mitch Morse and guard Daryl Williams are solid in the middle but this entire unit is not particularly great at run blocking. Unfortunately, the Bills don’t need to run all that well when their passing game is so productive.

Who are we kidding? The Falcons might get one or two pressures via the right tackle but that’s probably going to be the extent of it. The team should consider blowing this front up and starting over to the greatest extent possible in 2022, because it can’t be less productive.

Advantage: Bills

The skill positions

A.J. Terrell deserved a Pro Bowl nod and deserves to be an All Pro, but he’s the only standout back here. Young guys like Jaylinn Hawkins, Darren Hall and Richie Grant have shown glimpses of their potential, but they are inconsistent. Deion Jones is the biggest disappointment of anyone on this defense and many fans are now clamoring for him to be traded in the off-season, while Jones noted he’s still finding his way in this defense. So, things are going great there.

Bills QB Josh Allen is having another good season. He’s completing 65% of his passes and has 4,048 yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Stefon Diggs is already over 1,000 yards and has nine touchdowns on the year. Cole Beasley could be active again after being placed on the COVID list and WR Emmanuel Sanders was finally off the injury list ahead of his game in New England. This is a great group of receivers.

Devin Singletary leads the rushing attack with 672 yards and 4 touchdowns, but is barely ahead of Josh Allen, who has 619 yards rushing and 4 TDs. This is a really good collection of talent and a big reason this is the No. 3 offense in the league.

Unless the Falcons figure out how to clone A.J. Terrell to fill every defensive position, well...you know how this is probably going to turn out.

Advantage: Bills

Overall

I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I really don’t see any hope for the Falcons defense on Sunday barring a miraculous effort. Given that Atlanta needs to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, this will likely be the game that permanently puts an end to those distant hopes. The Bills look set to dominate here and this could be soul-crushing to watch, even if we hope it’s not.

Advantage: Bills