The Chargers are coming to city in opposition to the Falcons, bringing a strong however unspectacular assault to Atlanta. Will the Falcons be capable to cease their latest defensive woes in opposition to Los Angeles, which is sweet at avoiding errors and airing it out, however not essentially nice at working the soccer or scoring?
We’ll discover out quickly sufficient, however within the meantime, right here’s a better have a look at the matchup.
Within the trenches
The Chargers have a superb, younger line. Professional Soccer Focus has them at 14th within the NFL, and rookie Jamaree Salyer is filling in admirably for Rashawn Slater at left sort out. That’s two rookies beginning on the road, with Zion Johnson holding down proper guard, in addition to younger 2019 third rounder Trey Pipkins at proper sort out to go together with veterans Corey Linsley at middle (who’s harm) and Matt Feiler at left guard. This group has held up properly all season regardless of the lack of Slater, however they aren’t an amazing run blocking unit and have struggled a bit the previous couple of weeks to maintain Herbert clear, permitting 5 sacks over the previous two video games.
The Falcons entrance is contemporary off a hell week the place they obtained gashed by D’Onta Foreman and couldn’t generate a lot strain on P.J. Walker. Herbert and Justin Ekeler are more durable to take care of—or must be—however this Chargers line could be slightly extra attackable for Grady Jarrett, Arnold Ebiketie, Ta’Quon Graham and firm this week. I’m going to be beneficiant, count on a bounceback effort, and name this one pretty even, particularly with the latest struggles from the Chargers.
The ability positions
Justin Herbert doesn’t have essentially the most proficient group of move catchers within the NFL, however as a superlative expertise himself, he helps make up for that. Essentially the most annoying choice is Austin Ekeler, who’s a terrific, shifty working again who additionally hoovers up targets from Herbert. Atlanta’s typically tackling woes and protection points means Ekeler might wind up busting a few lengthy runs and/or turning on the jets after receptions, which is an issue.
Mike Williams is a troublesome problem—particularly if the Falcons don’t have A.J. Terrell again this week—and Josh Palmer and DeAndre Carter present strong choices for the group to work. Sadly for Herbert and firm, Williams and Keenan Allen could not play Sunday. Add in Gerald Everett, a participant I’ve all the time favored and a dependable goal at tight finish, and there are sufficient weapons right here to provide this protection matches if everybody’s wholesome. If not, they’re going to should lean closely on Palmer, Everett, and Ekeler.
Atlanta’s defensive backfield stays a serious weak spot. Terrell didn’t observe on Wednesday, main me to doubt his availability, and new acquisition Rashad Fenton is coming off an harm of his personal. Getting Jaylinn Hawkins again this week—he did observe—will assist, as properly one other week of fine well being for Dee Alford. That is nonetheless a gaggle wracked by accidents and struggling mightily in opposition to each an excellent quarterback (Joe Burrow) and a lesser if attention-grabbing one (P.J. Walker) over the previous two weeks. It’s exhausting to see this going properly with out Atlanta’s move rush having some success.
The Chargers can have checked out this Falcons protection the previous two weeks and concluded that in the event that they may give Ekeler slightly room to work and assault this secondary deep, they’ve an opportunity to place up 30-plus factors on Sunday.
The issue for Atlanta is that in need of producing a major move rush, they’re unlikely to disprove that, and I kind of have my doubts about that. The Falcons didn’t get run over and torched by the Panthers accidentally, however as a result of groups are discovering their weaknesses and taking full benefit of them at any time when doable. If the Falcons don’t welcome Terrell again, they’ll as soon as once more be quick on high-end choices at cornerback, and up entrance they’re nonetheless closely reliant on a small handful of gamers to wreak havoc. Atlanta ought to do higher than they did in opposition to the Bengals by the air and the Panthers on the bottom as a result of I don’t suppose they’re that horrible, however it is a good Chargers offense that will probably be a reputable downside even when they’re lacking some key items.
As soon as once more, Atlanta’s offense goes to be requested to do some heavy lifting, in different phrases. Let’s hope this seems higher than I feel it can.