Atlanta Falcons most intriguing matchups of 2015 – #2


Today, we move on in our “Falcons 50” series, looking at the most intriguing matchups the Atlanta Falcons will face this season. What is at No. 2?

You can find the full list of “Falcons 50″ posts here.

The “Falcons 50” countdown has entered single digits. That means football is coming. What are the most intriguing matchups of the season that the Falcons will face? Here is number two.

No. 2 – Offensive line vs Texans defensive front

To beat the Houston Texans, the Falcons will need to be on top of their game, especially along the offensive line. Houston boasts one of the most fierce pass rushes in the National Football League, lead by the best defensive player in football, J.J. Watt. Watt finished 2014 with 78 tackles, 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, one interception, two defensive touchdowns, ten defended passes and 15 stuffs.

Oh, and he caught three passes on offense, which were all touchdowns. He is an incredible athlete with a freakish skill set. He burns blockers at ease as if they weren’t even there, and his speed to the quarterback is at times unstoppable. Watt’s work ethic is through the roof and he is poised to put up another dominant season.

But what’s even scarier, is he’s not alone.

The Texans gained 325 dominant pounds of Vince Wilfork to the center of the defensive line, and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney returns to outside linebacker to join Brian Cushing and rookie Benardrick McKinney who are inside. The defense knows how to find the quarterback and quickly, and they will be an even better unit at stuffing the run with the offseason additions.

This will be a major challenge for the Falcons’ offensive line, which looked incredibly shaky against the Miami Dolphins in preseason, to put it kindly.

The Falcons have already added Andy Levitre who will start at left guard in the season opener, and are working out Jake Long Wednesday with the potential of signing him to help out at tackle.

No matter who lines up along the line for Atlanta, it’s going to be a long, tough day keeping the Texans’ defensive front in check. This is the biggest battle of the game and will have huge implications on who walks out the winner. The Texans’ offense is vulnerable, so winning the battle in the trenches on offense could take the game out of Houston’s reach.

When Week 4 rolls around, be sure to keep your eyes glued to this battle when the Falcons are on offense.

Next: Predicting the division standings, Super Bowl winner

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