Falcons vs Browns Key Match-up: Roddy White vs. Buster Skrine


While most eyes will be on the Pro Bowlers in the likely matchup between Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden and Atlanta Falcons stud wide receiver Julio Jones, here’s what I’m watching in Falcons vs Browns: key match-up Roddy White vs. Buster Skrine.

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White is a four-time Pro Bowl receiver who in his tenth season may be on downward slope of his career arc, but he nonetheless continues to pace Atlanta’s receiver corps this year with five touchdowns among his 47 receptions and 566 yards.  Jones is actually third in the entire league in pass targets, and yet Roddy still seems to be a favorite of QB Matt Ryan in the red zone.

White’s touchdowns haven’t been of the worthless variety, either.  He missed the blowout domination over Tampa Bay in September with a hamstring injury, but he has found the end zone in the other three wins Atlanta has managed to secure this season.  Since the Falcons are unlikely to blowout the Browns in their first game in the Georgia Dome since mid-October, White’s performance on Sunday may be a bellwether for whether the Falcons earn a third straight victory.

Buster Skrine, out of Etowah High School in Woodstock, GA, is in his fourth season after being drafted in the fifth round by the Browns.  Skrine, most likely to draw the assignment of stopping White, has been boom-or-bust for Cleveland this year as he has four interceptions but also a low Pro Football Focus coverage rating of -0.3.  He feasted on Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s historically-dreadful performance by garnering three pass deflections and two interceptions.

However, with three of his INTs coming in Cleveland wins, it appears that Skrine’s good performances have led to the Browns’ success much as White’s positive games have been for Atlanta.  This is why I’ll be tracking this battle so closely on Sunday.