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Who to watch today against the Detroit Lions

For the first time this season, the Atlanta Falcons played a complete game in Week 6. As a result, they finally got in the win column last week against a not-so-good Minnesota Vikings team. Those that needed to step up certainly did so, and fundamentally, the team looked solid as a whole.

Is it a coincidence that this happened after Coach Quinn was fired and Coach Raheem Morris took the helm? It’s possible, but could it be that Coach Morris has learned from his last head coaching stint and can build on that? We will certainly get to see if this team progresses against the Detroit Lions. That being stated, who will need to show up for the Falcons to get its second consecutive win?

Coach Raheem Morris

I’ve spoken often to the inconsistencies of this team over the past 5 years. The question you always had to ask about this team was whether they could put a consistent product on the field and remain competitive throughout the season, or even just full games.

Now make no mistake, all teams have bad games as that’s the nature of the beast, but having 3-4 bad games in a row is an indictment on coaching. It’ll be interesting to see how Coach Morris coaches and prepares this team after a decisive win in Minnesota last week. Will the team come out with the same intensity and focus? It all depends on the message and preparedness provided by Coach Morris and whether the players feel properly motivated.

Matt Ryan had arguably his best game of the 2020 season against the Vikings. He looked confident and comfortable in the pocket, very decisive in general, and his usual accurate self. He will definitely need to repeat that performance against the Lions if the Falcons are going to build on last week’s win. Considering that the Falcons defense, although they had a solid outing against the Vikings, are still a sore spot, Ryan will have to be able to be effective in leading the offense as well as protect the football for the Falcons to win.

Offense for this game will certainly be imperative. Time of possession should also be a main focus to keep Stafford off of the field against the Falcons’ porous pass defense. This is where it will be important for Koetter to make a concerted effort to get Todd Gurley and crew the ball early and often. Gurley has proven in the first 6 games that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank and can make an impact on the game.

He’s certainly been effective when given the touches and can certainly make an impact when given the opportunity. If the Falcons can control the clock with Gurley and the running game, it will bode well against Matt Stafford and the Lions.

I’m sure Sheffield would like to burn the film from last week against the Falcons. Then again, there is lots of film that could be burned from the entire secondary from this season so far, so he’s hardly alone. Sheffield has missed a few games this season, so he’s still getting his feet under him, but it’ll be vital that he bounces back from last week against the Lions. The pass defense for the Falcons has been horrendous, and way too many big plays have been given up by the unit. Sheffield needs to learn from his experiences last week against Justin Jefferson and make sure he makes the necessary technique improvements against the Lions. Doing that and limiting big plays will help the Falcons remain competitive today.

The Atlanta Falcons have decided to give the fan base a glimmer of hope. There were lots of concerns in regards to the message that has been relayed to this team from the previous regime, as well as how the regime was preparing the players for games. Yes, the Falcons played a horrible team in the Vikings, but beating a team that they should beat hasn’t happened at ALL this season before that. The theme at this point is consistency. Can the Falcons build on that win and continue to show its capabilities, or will those old familiar issues reappear? We will certainly see today!

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