What Will Be Atlanta’s Achilles Heel?


Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons fans reacts after losing the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers at the Georgia Dome. The 49ers defeated the Falcons 28-24. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

No matter how dominant a team may be, they always have a week point.  If there was no week point to exploit, that team would never lose.  The 1972 Miami Dolphins are probably the only team to not really have a week point at any position.   Considering their quarterback went down and they still won games with a talented backup.  It may not even be on the field: the 2007 patriots were almost perfect, but some game planning and coaching errors kept them from going 19-0.

I don’t want to say the Atlanta Falcons will have a downfall and whatever weaknesses they may have will cause them to miss or lose the Super Bowl, but what will cause them to lose the few games they will?

As Falcons fans, we have a plethora of problems that can stand to be fixed on all aspects of the team.  The offensive line and linebacker depth is very thin and a few untimely injuries could leave wide open gaps in performance.  Matt Ryan does make makes a few too-risky passes that end up as interceptions.  Julio Jones sometimes drops deep passes that could end up as touchdowns. Steven Jackson is old, and it’s not certain he will avoid an age decline.  Outside of Asante Samuel, who goes for the big play and sometimes gets burnt on a rout, the corners are very young and do not have a lot of experience.  Even the safeties have a few problems wrapping up when making tackles.  Put them all together and it sounds like Atlanta shouldn’t be any better than maybe 9 wins.  But we all know that the pros FAR outweigh the cons.

But what will be the main reason Atlanta loses their (In my honest predictions) 3-6 games?  I would attribute two or three of the losses to injury, but I couldn’t say where, it’s completely unpredictable.

I would have to say run defense.  That is the one area that was not worked on in the draft or free agency and unless Cliff Matthews is a surprising hit for Atlanta’s interior, I don’t see it getting any better.  A few games against powerful running teams may be a letdown for the Falcons when some tough nosed guy gets a head of steam and breaks loose for a few touchdowns.  Teams that can stretch the field with good running and passing like Seattle and New England may be able to etch out a win over the Falcons.

What do you think?  Will the Run defense be the next thing to worry about, or is the Offensive Line too young?  Maybe the pass rush didn’t improve enough?