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Falcons are heavy underdogs without Turner


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Falcons are heavy underdogs without Turner

10:38 am November 20, 2009, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Michael Boley is the latest ex-Falcons to run some smack at the team. He didn't like being told he wasn't aggressive enough when he got benched for Coy Wire last season.

The normally quiet Michael Boley is the latest ex-Falcons to run some smack at the team. He didn't like being told he wasn't aggressive enough when he got benched for Coy Wire last season.

THE BRANCH – Can’t find any prognosticators who are picking the Falcons to fly up to New York and hand out a smackdown to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Even the great Swami Schultz has the Falcons losing, but covering the 6½.

In SportingNews Today on Thursday, all seven members of their panel picked the New York Football Giants. All seven – Vinnie Iyer, Steve Greenberg, my main man Clifton Brown, Todd Wright, Real Scouts, Russ Lande and Dennis Dillion – had the NY insigna under their names.

Ken Moll of Scouts, Inc. has the Falcons losing 24-20. He gives the Falcons position advantages at wide receiver, linebacker, defensive back and special teams. He gives the coaching advantage to Tom Coughlin and the quarterback advantage to Manning.

That’s usually when things are most interesting in the NFL. When a team is given absolutely no chance to win an important game, they often times come through.

The Falcons margin of error will be slight with Michael Turner not expected to play. (INJURY ASIDE: The Falcons are hoping that Turner is a fast healer and can bounce back from his high right ankle sprain like he did back in 2001 from a left ankle sprain he suffered at Northern Illinois. “(Turner) Played in 10 games in 2001 and missed one with a sprained left ankle. . .” according to Pro Football Weekly’s 2001 draft guide.)

Here’s a look at some of the issues the Falcons must overcome to pull off the upset in Gotham City:

COVER THE GIANTS RECEIVERS: Steve Smith is their main guy, but the unit has some depth.

“Coming into the year, they were talking about the receiver corps was untested,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “The rookie from North Carolina (Hakeem Nicks) is getting a lot more looks. (Domenik) Hixon is a big, fast and strong guy, who works on their special teams. I think that they’ve started to gel as far as the receivers working with Eli.”

ATTACK THE O-LINE: Some contend that New York’s offensive line man is slipping from the Super Bowl standard of a few years ago.

“I think that unit works very, very well,” Smith said. “They remind me, watching them on tape, of our offensive line. They really play hard and they play well as a unit. They are a bunch of guys that really understand their blocking schemes. They are efficient in both run and pass blocking.”

STOP JACOBS BEFORE HE GETS ROLLING: The Falcons play a one-gap scheme, but they should just let middle linebacker Curtis Lofton key on Brandon Jacobs and give him the green light to go blow him up in the backfield. Once the big fella (6-4, 264) gets rolling, he’s tough to get down.

The Falcons are ranked 26th against the run (130.3 per game) and 28th against the pass (240.7). To have a chance they need to stop one aspect of the Giants offense and make them one dimensional.

“This is a very good running team and we know that,” Smith said. “This is a team that’s got really three backs. They talk about Brandon. They talk about Ahmad (Bradshaw) but Danny Ware is also a very good running back. It’s going to be very important that we are very gap sound. To defend the run you have to make sure that you are gap sound. You’ve got swarm to the ball and play with good leverage. If we can eliminate explosive plays in the running game we will enhance our chances this week.”

GET OFF THE FIELD ON THIRD DOWNS: The Falcons have also been pretty leaky on third downs. Teams have converted 61 of 125 third downs (49%).

Smith is aware of this major problem.

“We’re not very good, plain and simple,” Smith said. “We are not very good on third down.”

Smith and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder have a plan.

“We have to do a couple of things better,” Smith said. “First we have to play better on first and second down. We are in way too many third down-and-shorts and third down-and-mediums. In those situations you are putting yourself at a big disadvantage on third downs. It’s very important that we stress having good first and second down play to get us in those third down-and-longs.

“That’s something that you don’t want to see very often because the odds are in your favor defensively in those down

and distances. There are going to be certain times they are going to make good throws and good catches, but statistically those are situations that the defense definitely has the upper hand.”

WIND SHOULDN’T BE A PROBLEM: Got the weather update from the folks over at The Weather Channel.

“The Weather Channel has your NFL football forecast for the weekend – we would love to let your readers know:

Atlanta Falcons @ NY Giants

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Gametime Weather Index: 10 (Light winds; 50s)

November and December games in the Meadowlands can be notoriously windy, thanks to both cold fronts sweeping out of the Great Lakes and an occasional coastal storm. While the latter scenario will be in play Sunday, the coastal low should be rather weak, by East Coast standards, and high pressure should remain sufficiently nearby to minimize rain chances. More importantly, the proximity of the surface high should keep winds generally less than 10 mph.”

GASH ‘EM IN THE RUN GAME: Perhaps the Giants will take the Falcons backup running backs lightly. But Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood are very capable.

Perhaps one of them can pop a 66-yarder like Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy’s 66-yard touchdown run against the Gaints in Week 8.

SCHEDULE GRIEVANCE: Before leaving New York, the Falcons need to file a grievance at the league office over this bye-week booster schedule they are playing. Here’s the address: 280 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017. You know, you they can put it in the GPS.

Mathematically, the Falcons rank fourth in strength of schedule this season with their opponents combining for a .588 winning percentage in 2008 (150 wins, 105 losses and one tie).

Considering that they play four teams coming off of bye weeks — including the rested New York Giants – they might just have the toughest schedule in the league is year. (They are 2-1 so far, beating San Francisco and Washington, while losing to Dallas as they were coming off bye weeks).

“This is the fourth one is six weeks,” Smith said. “The schedule is made and we’ve got to go play the games. Up until this point, I think we’ve handled it very well. It’s a little bit tougher when you are coming off a bye week and you’ve got to go on the road than coming off a bye week and having to play that opponent at home.”

2010 DRAFT PREVIEW OF CORNERBACKS: It’s OK to take a peak ahead to the 2010 draft. It’s a pretty good bet that the Falcons will be giving every draftable cornerback in the nation a workout.

It would be wise to start compiling a file on Florida State’s Patrick Robinson. If the Falcons land somewhere in the 20s, he could be available. Robinson will be rated behind Tennessee’s Eric Berry of Creekside High and Florida’s Joe Haden, the consensus top two corners in the draft.

Here’s a look at some of the other top cornerbacks around the country.

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SCHEDULE GRIEVANCE: Before leaving New York, the Falcons need to file a grievance at the league office over this bye-week booster schedule they are playing. Here’s the address: 280 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017. You know, you they can put it in the GPS.

Mathematically, the Falcons rank fourth in strength of schedule this season with their opponents combining for a .588 winning percentage in 2008 (150 wins, 105 losses and one tie).

Considering that they play four teams coming off of bye weeks — including the rested New York Giants – they might just have the toughest schedule in the league is year. (They are 2-1 so far, beating San Francisco and Washington, while losing to Dallas as they were coming off bye weeks).

“This is the fourth one is six weeks,” Smith said. “The schedule is made and we’ve got to go play the games. Up until this point, I think we’ve handled it very well. It’s a little bit tougher when you are coming off a bye week and you’ve got to go on the road than coming off a bye week and having to play that opponent at home.”

We have this guy, McKay, who is president of the team and is also co chair of the competition committee and yet when something like this happens he just sits there hands under his butt. A lousy GM and a lousy supporter of the Falcons if you ask me.

Edited by Jesus
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We have these things goping agaisnt us..

* Giants are at home

* Giants lost 4 in a row

* Giants under BIG pressure to win at home from their fans and media

* our QB played scared the last 6 games

* our Defense cant stop the run

* our defense cant rush the passer (and we hardly ever blitz)

* Turner is out

* Giants coming off a bye week and have been festering and rotting on the 4 losses

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I stop reading when I saw D.Orlando

I stopped reading when it said the Falcons hope Turner can bounce back like he did when he was 8 years younger in college, like healing gets faster as you age. :rolleyes: They need to plan on moving on without him in the short term with the other guys, because finger crossing isn't a strategy.

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We have these things goping agaisnt us..

* Giants are at home

* Giants lost 4 in a row

* Giants under BIG pressure to win at home from their fans and media

* our QB played scared the last 6 games

* our Defense cant stop the run

* our defense cant rush the passer (and we hardly ever blitz)

* Turner is out

* Giants coming off a bye week and have been festering and rotting on the 4 losses

Pretty much.

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LOL man you guys have made some great posts on this game. I especially love the

"ghost of Terrance Moore returns" comment. I really love hating on the AJC as much as they have hated on our Falcons over the years. Ledbetter's writing always makes me scratch my head wondering if they actually have an editor at AJC reviewing his work before they publish it.

Yeah the odds are stacked against us, but for once Ledbetter has it right. This is just the type of game our guys can go out and win for us. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they did win it.

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We have these things goping agaisnt us..

* Giants are at home

* Giants lost 4 in a row

* Giants under BIG pressure to win at home from their fans and media

* our QB played scared the last 6 games

* our Defense cant stop the run

* our defense cant rush the passer (and we hardly ever blitz)

* Turner is out

* Giants coming off a bye week and have been festering and rotting on the 4 losses

You should go back to the avatar with the girl with the Falcons ski cap on or whatever it was b/c you weren't quite as negative with that one... :P

LMAO.. at everyone saying that the VaGiants losing 4 in a row is a disadvantage for us. Last time I heard losing streaks are a good thing for the opposing team. We can and should beat the Giants....

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Can't the same be said about the 4 LOSSES WE HAVE????

He was refering to the fact that the Giants have lost 4 in a row. We are coming into this game with only 1 consecutive loss. But I've read your posts, and I don't think you really want the Falcons to win anyway, so I take your negativity with a grain of salt.

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