Question #5: Who are you most scared of on the Falcons offense? Conversely, who should the Falcons fear most on the Eagles?
Joe Kalafut: The obvious answer to part one is Julio Jones. What makes Jones even more of a nightmare to deal with is the one-two combo the Falcons offer at running back; it opens up a lot for Julio in the pass game. For the Eagles, Fletcher Cox has the ability to be a game wrecker. If he is able to stop the run and force the Falcons offense into 3rd and longs, the Eagles defense could have a lot of success against the Falcons high powered offense.
My take: This game pits the league’s best offense against one of the league’s best defenses. The first part of this question goes without saying. The answer is obviously Julio Jones.
“Jet” is the type of player defenses have to locate on every play. He has the rare combination of size, speed, and strength to both take the top off the defense and slice them up through chunk plays over the middle. The Eagles have average cornerbacks, but they have one of the best safety tandems in Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins to offer them support on Jones.
As for the Eagles, I’m most fearful of Fletcher Cox. Like Julio, Cox can affect the game in multiple ways. He is stout in the run game, but his best work comes against the pass where he is arguably one of the best interior pass rushers in the league. If the Falcons decide to double Cox, that will open up one-on-one opportunities for Logan, Graham, and Barwin. Look for the Falcons to possibly counteract that with their multiple tight end sets.