Atlanta Falcons checklist for Week 12 matchup vs. Vikings


The Atlanta Falcons face a tough contest with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12. What will it take to get the victory?

The 2015 season for the Atlanta Falcons is possibly at a crossroads at the moment. A hot 5-0 start as now turned to a 6-4 record with more and more doubters adding up each week. Easily the most difficult loss was to a 49ers team that has now turned to once anointed savior Blaine Gabbert at QB.

However, the recent loss to Indianapolis may be more difficult to figure out than the others based on the team coming off a bye week while at home with a 21-7 lead late in the third. If you’re optimistic, there is still plenty of games left to right the ship.

Although what lies ahead is Minnesota, Carolina twice, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and New Orleans. First and foremost, here is the checklist for the Sunday home game against Minnesota.

Get Devonta back

Losing Freeman to a concussion in the first quarter of the Colts game was a significant blow. Even though the offense built a 21-7 lead without him, not having him late in the game altered the play calling as the team was unable to turn to the run game to wear out the Colts defense.

It also didn’t help that rookie RB Tevin Coleman had a costly fumble in the midst of the team’s ugly fourth quarter. It’s no secret that a healthy Devonta fuels what Atlanta can truly do on offense.

Spread the targets around

It doesn’t take much to realize that defenses know the ball is going to Julio the majority of the times when Matt Ryan drops back. The presence of Julio is definitely a luxury as he is arguably the best wideout in the league.

Defenses are still able to hone in on slowing him down which means that at times there are opportunities for others. Three games played, only ten targets for rookie Justin Hardy. I understand he’s a rookie, but how do we expect him to display growth and build trust if he isn’t even being looked at on some occasions.

There is the issue with Hankerson and his drops but in reality, he is needed as he is the best pass catching threat outside of Julio at the moment. Throwing to Julio is a great idea, yet, the offense can showcase some type of versatility by getting everyone involved.

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Emphasize capitalizing on turnovers

The comeback by the Colts may never had happen if the offense capitalized on two Colts turnovers on their first two drives. Atlanta is 11th in the league in defensive takeaways but the offense have failed to produce points on many occasions this season.

With a missed field goal by Matt Bryant and a Ryan interception on the second drive, the Falcons cost themselves a potential ten points which may have put the game out of reach once the fourth quarter started.

Focus on Peterson

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is up next for this Falcons defense that has greatly improved especially in run game department as they are first in the league in run defense 87.4 yards per game.

Peterson is a different breed than what Atlanta has faced throughout the season. Slowing down AP can eliminate a key element for the Minnesota Vikings. It’s going to take a group effort. Sound tackling, more than one defender to the ball, and staying discipline can make slowing Peterson down a success.