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Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Falcons-Patriots: 10 observations By Ken Moll

Scouts Inc.

Atlanta at New England

When: 1:00 PM ET

Watch: FOX

Preview

More scouting reports: Week 3

Scouts Inc. Position Advantage

QB RB WR OL DL LB DB ST Coach

After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Falcons-Patriots matchup.

1. Atlanta needs to get its playmakers the ball: The Falcons need to continue to spread the ball around to their most dangerous targets in the passing game. Offseason acquisition Tony Gonzalez has made his presence known early this season, as the Falcons have expanded their offense to include him often. Look for Gonzalez as well as Roddy White and Jerious Norwood to see lots of balls come their way.

2. Expect a balanced Atlanta ground attack: Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will likely try to utilize his talented backs on downhill isolation plays as well as off tackle and perimeter schemes on the edges. Michael Turner is impressive between the tackles but Norwood could see more touches with his speed and burst to stretch the Patriots' defense.

3. Atlanta must tighten up its run defense: The Falcons have won despite not defending their opponents' running attack very well. Atlanta is allowing 120 yards per game at over 5 yards per carry. The Patriots will make a concerted effort to get their ground assault on track. We may see more interior stunts and zone-run blitzes to derail the Patriots' running game.

4. Look for more pressure packages from the Falcons: Tom Brady has played somewhat average through two games as he has been under duress often in the pocket. Atlanta defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder doesn't like to use many blitz schemes, but will likely dial up a variety of pressure packages in this contest to keep the Patriots' passing attack off balance.

5. Matchup to watch -- Falcons DE John Abraham vs. Patriots OT Matt Light: This should be an excellent battle between two athletic and crafty veterans who could have a huge impact in the game. Look for Abraham to utilize his great initial quickness to rush off the edge and a variety of counters to keep Light off balance. Light is an excellent technician who will need to keep Abraham at bay for Brady to work his magic.

6. New England must run the ball effectively: The Patriots' ground attack, which has been less than impressive through two games, will likely try to set the tempo of this game. The Pats have some talented backs who might be able to wear down a Falcons defense that has been average against the run and missing first-round defensive tackle Peria Jerry.

7. New England must keep Brady clean: Brady is outstanding when he can set his feet in the pocket, but he's been somewhat uncomfortable and unable to deliver the ball consistently downfield. Look for tighter line splits and a possible an extra blocker in pass protection to keep Brady in rhythm.

8. Mix schemes up for Atlanta QB Matt Ryan: Ryan has been one of the most accurate passers in the league so far and can burn a defense when he gets in a rhythm. Look for Bill Belichick to utilize multiple schemes to force Ryan into some errant throws and keep this very solid Falcons offense off balance.

9. Patriots will be heavy on run-stopping schemes: The Patriots' defense needs to make the Falcons put the ball in the air. The success of Atlanta's offense focuses around a physical ground attack and New England will likely utilize more eight-man fronts, interior stunts and zone run blitzes to derail the physical running style of Turner.

10. Matchup to watch -- Patriots WR Randy Moss vs. Falcons CB Chris Houston: Moss has been relatively quiet thus far and was almost shut down in the Patriots' Week 2 loss to the Jets. He has an obvious size advantage on Houston, and we can look for this matchup to be exploited by the New England's offensive staff.

Prediction

Atlanta 21

New England 23

If they put 8 in the box then Ryan will kill them all day long

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9. Patriots will be heavy on run-stopping schemes: The Patriots' defense needs to make the Falcons put the ball in the air. The success of Atlanta's offense focuses around a physical ground attack and New England will likely utilize more eight-man fronts, interior stunts and zone run blitzes to derail the physical running style of Turner.

yea go ahead and try that

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This is a hard one to pick, because its easy to see it going either way. Thing is I believe we can run well and contol the clock, but new england has the big play threat combo of moss and brady. I would like to see us double moss most of the game if welker still can't go, and hope our d does a better job of stopping the run. I think the falcons can pull it off, provided we don't give up too many big plays, because I like our chances at controlling the line of scrimmage.

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This is a hard one to pick, because its easy to see it going either way. Thing is I believe we can run well and contol the clock, but new england has the big play threat combo of moss and brady. I would like to see us double moss most of the game if welker still can't go, and hope our d does a better job of stopping the run. I think the falcons can pull it off, provided we don't give up too many big plays, because I like our chances at controlling the line of scrimmage.

Well in our first 2 games the O'line has not really dominated the los.....

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As much as I hate to admit it, this will likely be the outcome for this game. We CAN win this game, and I won't be suprised if we DO win this game, but I just think the fact that the Pats are at home and angry will give them just a slight edge over us.

The anger isn't going to help them. The Jets talked trash all week and still punked them.

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this game reminds me alot of the packers game last year. i remember there was no way we were going into lambeu and beating a team that was 13-3. the packers were just too good for us, we weren't ready yet for that challenge, blah, blah, blah.

Newsflash: coach smith isn't going up there to to kiss any rings either.

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I'm just ecstatic that winning this game is a rational thought. Who would've thunk it?

lol think back to last preseason. we were supposedly one of the worst teams in the league with a rookie qb, lt, coach, gm, and a rb who never started before with a bad oline and a poor defense. the pats were coming off of 16-0. my how quickly things have changed.

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this game reminds me alot of the packers game last year.

It reminds me of the Packers game in terms of this being an early road test (we'll just forget about week 2 in Tampa Bay last year. However, since we're talking past events, this one feels like a set up to something more like the Eagles game last year, which had in our grasp and let get away at the end. This could be a very tense game for fans of both teams.

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falcons are 4 points underdog... should i place $50 on that odds?

If you can afford to lose it and want to put $50 on a coin toss. You could probably find a better game to bet on. I'd take the Panthers @+9.

If you want to bet on the Falcons, I'd take the moneyline at around +175. That means if they win, you make 50*1.75

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10. Matchup to watch -- Patriots WR Randy Moss vs. Falcons CB Chris Houston: Moss has been relatively quiet thus far and was almost shut down in the Patriots' Week 2 loss to the Jets. He has an obvious size advantage on Houston, and we can look for this matchup to be exploited by the New England's offensive staff.

That's the thing that worries me right there. That has the possibility of being an absolute nightmare. I hope Houston brings his A-game with him on Sunday because Randy Moss is absolutely not a pushover. If he's going to beat Moss, Houston might need to use that strength we all know he has and get at least some what physical with him at the line. Because for one, Moss is way, way taller than Houston. And for two, I really don't think Houston is faster than Moss.

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Lot of new faces showing up around here.

To birdsbackagain : And what bandwagon did you fall off of?

Your mom's wagon biac! I used to be the orginial Dirtybird but someone stole that screen name when the boards changed two years. I stopped posting on this board bc of ***** like you. I have been a Falcon fan for life and a season ticket holder for 2 years.

Kiss that bandwagon boy

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