Atlanta Falcons most intriguing matchups of 2015 – #1


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. 1?

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 one.

No. 1 – Desmond Trufant vs Odell Beckham Jr.

An elite receiver going up against a top-5 cornerback? This one should be fun.

Odell Beckham Jr. burst onto the scene in his rookie campaign last year, making 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing the first four games of the season. Quite incredible. He built a reputation for making spectacular catches which includes the insane leaping one-handed touchdown against the Cowboys, deservedly considered one of the best catches of all-time.

He faces high expectations and will be respected by every defensive coordinator that he comes up against. Odell, meet Desmond. Desmond, Odell. Trufant is one of the league’s best cornerbacks, although he often slips under the radar. But don’t just take my word for it, you just have to look at the numbers.

Trufant was rated the sixth best cornerback in the NFL last year by Pro Football Focus with a plus-13.5 overall grade with a plus-9.1 in coverage. The ball was thrown into his coverage 92 times, which was the 17th-highest amount in the league (out of 108 cornerbacks), but he still only allowed 58.7 percent of passes to be completed. Trufant made more interceptions (three) than he allowed touchdowns (two), and quarterbacks had a passer rating of 74.0 when throwing his way (17th lowest in the NFL).

Beckham on the other hand, was ranked the third best receiver behind only Antonio Brown and Jordy Nelson, finishing with a plus-20.4 grade. The numbers he was able to put up despite missing four games through injury—and the fact he was a rookie—is mind-boggling, and he’s only going to get better.

This is going to be fun to watch. Can the Falcons generate enough pass rush to help out Trufant, or is he going to have to cover Beckham for a long time each passing play? Either way, it should be a back-and-forth battle. Trufant is one of the only cornerbacks in the league who can slow Beckham down, but likewise the Giants’ star poses a serious threat to Trufant’s ability of stopping touchdowns being thrown on him.

This is the most intriguing positional battle the Atlanta Falcons face this year, and I can’t wait for it. Trufant vs Beckham – who wins?

Next: NFL Power Rankings: Where do the Falcons stand?

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