Calvin Johnson and the Lions pack a powerful punch in the passing game. They have continued to prove that they can just throw the ball around the 6’6” Johnson, and no matter how many defenders are around, he will come down with it. In just six games, he already has nine touchdown grabs and averages 15.7 yards per catch. Ranking 5th in the league in reception yards, Johnson is a Ferrari among Kia’s; a thoroughbred among donkeys; a Megatron among mortals. The Falcons, however, have their own “team” of db’s that will try to stop this evil pass catching Decepticon. Pro-Bowler Optimus Grimes (Brent Grimes), the highly touted Daunte (Ratchet) Robinson, the hard hitting William (Ironhide) Moore, and the swift Thomas (Jazz) DeCoud will have to be at the top of their game in order for the Falcons to save their football world going into the bye week.
With Lion’s runner Javid Best looking like he will be inactive for the game on Sunday due to a concussion, the Lions are going to have to rely heavily on their passing game. The Falcons also rank 7th in the league in run defense with both Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon tied for 7th in the league with 54 combined tackles apiece (three sevens is always a good sign). The backers will be asked to drop a little more into coverage this game. The dirty birds should be used to playing against beefy tight ends since they do it every day in practice going against Tony Gonzalez, but the Lion’s Brandon Pettigrew is really starting to make a name for himself. Due to all of the double covering of Megatron, Pettigrew has found his own mismatches, lining up one on one against safeties and slower linebackers. Weatherspoon, one of the most athletic linebackers in the league, will be asked to match up with Pettigrew most of the game. “Jazzy” DeCoud, who is tied for second in the league with three interceptions on the season, could see some time matched up with him as well.
If the Falcons are going to be successful, they must put pressure on the former University of Georgia quarterback Mathew Stafford. He has proven to be fragile in the past. Without a running game, the Falcons should be able to line up in their sprinter stance, and rage right at the quarterback. Essentially put Stafford on the tee, rare back, and plant him in the middle of the fairway. Even if the Falcons don’t get to him, they need to make sure to get their hands up for deflections. Much like in basketball, deflections are crucial, and it caused two critical interceptions last week against the Panthers.
I think the Falcons offense can help out the defense against the Lions. The Lions defense ranks 26th in the league against the run. The Falcons proved last week that they will pound the rock when needed, and Optimus Grimes’ sidekick Michael “Bumble Bee Burner” Turner could do the Falcons a great justice by keeping Megatron in outerspace. He will have to try to stay away from the Decepticon on the other side of the ball for the Lions, Ndamukong “Shockwave” Suh. If the Falcons can double team Shockwave Suh, and if they can allow the Lion’s outside rushers up the field, I think the running lanes in the middle will be open for bumper bowling again (much like you saw the 49ers do against them last week).
The Falcons need to send a message with this game. A victory here would be atmospheric for their confidence into the bye week and moving forward. With all of the coaching drama last week, I think Mike Smith should just walk right up to Lion’s head coach Jim Schwartz and stick him right in the face. No words needed, no chest bumping or middle school shoving, just a solid face caving punch.
It is time for the Falcons to show the NFL that they mean business. Hopefully the Falcons will prove that “there is more than meets the eye”, and the defense will have a semi-successful game. Let’s take out Megatron and finally “transform” the Falcons season to one with a winning record.