After seven weeks of NFL games, the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans will meet on Sunday in a game that could determine numerous teams and players fates the rest of the season. Tennessee seems to be approaching a rebuild and a loss could push them to trade quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Derrick Henry, and a few other key players.
On the flip side, a win on Sunday could push the Falcons to become buyers at the trade deadline and gauge the market on wide receivers or pass rushers to help push the team to the next level as the playoffs quickly approach. There will be several keys to the matchup that could determine who leaves the field with a victory and which team could be left with long term questions.
1) What quarterback will the Atlanta Falcons face this week?
After the Tennessee Titans traded starting safety Kevin Byard on Monday, there seemed to be a collective agreement that the team was finally entering a rebuilding phase. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill could be next as his contract expires at the end of this season. There are numerous teams around the league who could utilize him and Tennessee may try to gauge his value before they potentially lose him for nothing at the end of the season.
The main complication with a potential trade is that Tannehill is currently dealing with a high-ankle sprain that could keep him out of the Falcons matchup even if he isn’t traded. If Tannehill is unable to go, the Falcons will face either Malik Willis or rookie Will Levis.
Willis started three games last season and was absolutely atrocious. He struggled with his accuracy, threw three interceptions, and took ten sacks. During spot duty in their matchup against Baltimore, he took four more sacks and still seemed overwhelmed by the speed of the game.
Levis is currently seen as the team’s future starting quarterback and his jump to QB1 could happen sooner than expected. Levis was viewed as a potential first-round pick before falling to the Titans in the early second round. He is an athletic quarterback but has concerns about his consistency and some accuracy issues.
If Tannehill is unable to go, the Falcons may have a much easier game than originally expected when this matchup was announced. Levis and Willis may be good starters eventually, but as of right now, it’s easy to see them being overwhelmed by an Atlanta defense that has played well this year.