The bigger they are the harder they fall, especially in New Orleans. It was perhaps the worst game of Michael Turner’s career and one of the best for Matt Ryan, while still succumbing to a potentially devastating loss for a previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons team. I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of a sweat on with this one. Part of me genuinely thought that we could pull it off and if we could, we’d have breezed through the rest of the season without too much fuss. A loss to the Saints brought us back to earth and maybe that’s exactly what we needed.
There’s two things that can come of it. Either the game proves as a reality check, the team get their head back in the game and continue on the form that they were, or they fall apart brick by brick. This is why I think the game against the Cardinals could prove to be the biggest test of Falcon morale at this point in the season. The team need to put the game behind them, forget about it. They’ll get another shot at the Saints and they can strive to put them back in their place. Until then, the Cardinals game is the most important game in the season.
Let’s look at what we’re working with against the Cardinals. The running game needs to get better – today. The Cardinals have the NFL’s 24th ranked rush defense, against Atlanta’s 26th in rushing yardage. Turner isn’t having the best season of his life right now, with only 529 yards to show for the year. There is no better man to trust with the football than Matt Ryan, who has easily established himself as one of the best QB’s in the league without a shadow of a doubt. I’m in favor of taking a chance on the Cardinals and exposing their rush defense, bringing the entire team together as a whole.
When you’re Matt Ryan and you’re on the field with Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and Julio Jones, it’s enough to give the QB a confidence boost. Ryan has looked extremely comfortable under pressure lately, I would lay that off to the fact that he knows with this trio on the field, he can make a pass and get those first downs with accurate play. The Cardinals know that, hence an unexpected battle of weakness on weakness might be the way to go. I’ll leave that up to Mike Smith, however.
The only question is, can the Falcons actually pick themselves up and get back on their feet for the rest of the season? They can. I know for a fact they will, they have to. Without that connected team confidence, an entire season can fall apart in a blink of an eye. I’m tipping for the Falcons to with this battle of the birds and to show the rest of the league that one loss on a streak isn’t enough to stop them. It’s only a few hours to kick off, with that I say:
Falcons – 30 Cardinals – 17