The 4-0 Atlanta Falcons host the 2-2 Washington Redskins at home this coming Sunday. After dominating the Houston Texans 48-21 last weekend, fans around the league are starting to take the Atlanta Falcons just a bit more seriously.
The Falcons, who are tied atop the NFC South with the Carolina Panthers, have surprised most fans around the league; however, they no longer want to be seen as a surprise package but rather the real deal. The Dan Quinn coached Falcons host a Washington Redskins side at home, with the expectations of yet another win this season.
Ex-Washington Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan has turned the Falcons offense into nothing short of a powerhouse. After four games, the Falcons boast the most rushing touchdowns in the league with nine, six passing touchdowns, 231 offensive plays without a turnover, 403.3 yards per game which ranks in at fifth in the league, 80% efficiency in the red zone, and last but not least the second highest time of possession in the league.
The question is, can the Redskins slightly knocked up defense stop the Falcons newly found balanced offense? The Redskins injury report states that they are potentially going to be without DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver, who both play corner back and neither practiced at all on Thursday. This means Julio Jones will be looking forward to this fixture even more. The Redskins are potentially going to be without Perry Riley Jr as well for this game with a calf injury. He had limited practice on Thursday.
Devonta Freeman coming in at the running back position has six touchdowns in two games and is looking impossible to stop. This kind of running game has Matt Ryan more than happy to play safe with his passes and keep them short. This style of play, however, sees a rise to Ryan’s favored deep shot play action.
Offensively, the Washington Redskins to have the weapons to make things happen with the ball. With the possibility that DeSean Jackson may be back for this game with limited practice on Thursday, it means that Kirk Cousins will keep that deep ball threat against the Falcons. They will more than likely lean on power back Alfred Morris, who comes into the game with 261 yards in four games. He is averaging 4 yards per carry; however, he is yet to get into the end zone.
It must be noted that the Falcons have given up 8 touchdowns in four games so far this season; therefore, Morris has an ideal matchup to pick up his first touchdown. A major issue for the Redskins is, while they may be getting DeSean Jackson back for the first time this season, it is looking likely that tight end and arguably the key cog in their offense, Jordan Reed, is not going to play with a concussion.
As for the Atlanta Falcons, they are expecting to be without Tevin Coleman and Justin Durant for this match-up.
Coming into the season everybody knew that the Falcons offense was good enough to compete, the offense only needed a player or two more to be as good as it is now. The main question was simply, could the defense step up and actually help the offense?
Well, so far this season, the defense is far from perfect but it is playing beyond expectations and making plays. Stats don’t tell the true story about the Falcons. For example they average 23.2 points allowed per game. They gave up 21 against the Texans when the game was already over, due to having their reserves on the field. In reality the starters on defense didn’t concede a point, so stats can’t always tell the extent of the story.
But with the Falcons offense doing so well to keep the ball and boasting the second highest time of possession, the defense is always fully fresh to play with pace. As a result, after just four games, the Falcons boast a very impressive nine turnovers. Five fumbles and four picks so far this season is something to be proud of, as the Falcons are making plays.
The Redskins are a good team as they are arguably better than their 2-2 record suggests. But the Falcons are as good as their 4-0 record suggests so far and it would be a shock to see them lose their undefeated record at home to the Redskins this Sunday.