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That's how you bounce back! I knew all week this group was too talented to not bounce back. That was the team we expected to see to start the season. The Dome was rocking and the players made it worth it. The defense made a big statement Sunday night, shutting down the Eagles running game and knocking Wentz around to the point Josh McCown had to actually come in the game. When's the last time you could say that about a Falcons pass rush? The run defense was legit, with Davison and Bailey showing exactly why they were brought here to run with Grady. Folks thought that Eagles OL was going to bully us, but forgot to look at who the Falcons were bringing to the game as well. Same with our OL. They showed up big. Schwartz had to send his kitchen sink and his mom's to get pressure on Matt. Think about that. With Lindstrom out and McGary going down, they still needed to blitz. He got some wins, but in the grand scheme of things, all that blitzing only netted 1 sack and 6 hits. That's a win for the OL. Hat off to Jamon Brown as well. The Big Fella showed what 340lbs of mass on the OL can do for you. Cox was neutralized repeatedly and even dumped on his back for a pancake. You never saw that with Cox against this OL before. This was just a physical, sixty minute fight, and the Falcons were the ones bringing it this time. DQ also showed he's not some push over coach like some fans think. He was pissed and got that team right in a week's time. Give him his credit. We are 1-1 and I love it. Getting one win out of two versus Minnesota and Philadelphia is big. This may be a tie breaker for playoff implications, but for now, it's just a big win, at home, on primetime TV to avoid an 0-2 hole in a wide open NFC South race! On to Indianapolis: (Disclaimer: This is the Baltimore Colts logo, but I like it more than the plain horseshoe.) Head Coach: Frank Reich Offensive Style: Classic West Coast Style Defensive Style: 4-3 defense (Cover 2/3) 2018 Record: 10-6 Falcons All Time Record: 2-14 (!) The Way I See It: The Colts are a solid team. Losing Luck does not help their cause. At all. Brissett is fine, but he's not Luck. No matter what anybody tries to say or convince you otherwise, one is a four time Pro Bowler and the other was a career back up that was thrust into action when Luck was hurt in 2017. That's a massive difference. They've suffered some other injuries/losses, so it makes it a little tough to figure them out. There will be no Jabaal Sheard, no Devin Funchess, and potentially no Pierre Desir, Darius Leonard, or Kemoko Turay. Those last three guys are major parts of the Colts defense, with Leonard being the biggest potential loss. This is an opportunity to show the Falcons are a class above the Colts in their current form. Don't hang around with lesser teams or take them lightly. We saw this group get ran out of Cleveland last year because "it was the Browns". Show you take every game seriously and start re-staking your claim in the top tier of the NFL. How We Match Up: With or without the injuries, I liked this match up coming into the year. No, the Falcons don't have a great record against the Colts. But that doesn't matter to me. It's 2019 and right now, I think the 2019 Falcons have more talent than the 2019 Colts. Especially without Luck and the current slate of injuries. Brissett is a career check down QB. He's not going to throw it deep. That means team speed, tackling, and discipline is how you stop this offense. DQ is going to make his money again. Their defense was a very conservative bunch last year. A ton of soft zones to keep things in front of them. They ran zone the most in the league last year. They are trying to run more man this year so they don't just get picked apart. They improved their CB talent on the outside, but I don't think it matches up yet. To get 10 wins on the season, you are required to win on the road. This match up should favor the Falcons doing that. When the Falcons are on Offense: Welp. Matt just had back to back games with multiple INTs for the first time since 2017. That's also his worst week two game under DQ in terms of rating. But he did what he needed to do to win that game. That's all that matters. We know he's not going to keep throwing multiple INTs. We also know he won't keep missing open TDs like he has three times in two games now. We saw first hand why Koetter is one of the best OCs in the league. He was attacking all night, but was also baiting Schwartz into making a fatal mistake and timed it perfectly. That's NFL level coaching. He got the offense on track and kept it wide open for Matt to work through it. I know there are complaints about the lack of running, but when you have a QB like Matt, you give him the latitude to exploit the defense how he sees fit. Matt was 6-6 on RPOs, called runs that Matt saw the pass being the better option and he was right. This game, I expect to see the running game get going. No Leonard is going to hurt if he can't go. He's their Debo and we saw just how different our defense was with and without a star LB roaming the middle. If the OL continues to gel and find their groove, they can handle this front. It's not of the caliber of the Eagles. The Chargers ran for 6.0 YPC and the Titans ran for 5.4 behind Henry. There should be a steady dose of rushing attack this week to show Freeman still has it and Ito is a good complement. Beyond that, we continue to see nobody can guard Julio. They had trouble with Keenan Allen. The Falcons offense is trotting out Julio, Ridley, Sanu, Hooper, Freeman on any given play. I just don't think the Colts are equipped for that fight. Especially not banged up. Not if Matt plays clean football for the first time this season. When the Falcons are on Defense: Get to Brissett. He's a very safe and conservative thrower. He's averaged 6.6 YPA for his short career. In 2017, Football Outsiders rated him the #1 deep ball thrower, classifying deep balls as anything beyond 15 yards. When you dig in, you see he only threw 60 of such passers, completing only 22 of such passes. He threw deep 8.7% of the time in 2017. It's not his game. In any way. Yes, he's "accurate" but he's not threatening. There is a difference. Long pass in two games is 25 yards. He's averaging under 4 air yards per pass. He's not a mobile neither like Wentz. So if they can collapse the pockets some, he'll get rid of it. The offense is based around safe, high completion throws to get the ball out of his hands fast and into the playmakers hands. The problem is they don't have many playmakers that teams are scared of. Hilton is a dog. But beyond that... Ebron's had a resurgence. Their strength is their OL. Nelson is going to body somebody. We know that. But Grady should be able to dominate Glowinski like he's done everybody else so far. The Colts are going to have to lean on their running game, which we are equipped to defend now. They've run the ball more than they've thrown it. That's what they'll look to do here. They've broken some big ones, so they Falcons will have to be disciplined. This will be a game to see not only if Davison, Grady, and Bailey can remain consistent in shutting down running games, but Vic, Takk, and Clayborn are consistent in their run fits. They do that and put this game in Brissett's hands, it should be fun to watch their defensive performance. I'm confident in this group after Sunday. Vegas Line: Vegas has the Colts as a 2.5 point home favorite, with the o/u set at 47. Take it for what you will. Prediction: I said last week this Falcons team had to show me who they were Sunday night and I'd believe it. Well, they showed their muscles, hitting hard, flying around, and making a clear statement that they aren't to be trifled with. Now, Matt Ryan is the last piece holding this offense back from glory. If him and the running game get back on track this week like I expect, I think they win handily. They should have hung 30+ on the Eagles. They Colts only gave up 30 points twice last year, so I don't see that happening Sunday. But if this defense steps up again, they should hold this offense under 20 points. If they allow over 200 yards passing, I'll be disappointed. This is a game set up for them to show off their team speed on defense, consistently clamping down on short passes and making the Colts frustrated. Play disciplined and physical in the run game and hold this Colts team for ransom. Also, it'll be my birthday on Sunday so they better bring home a W! RISE UP!!