The Falcons and Cardinals square off on Sunday and both teams will be looking for their second wins of the season. Atlanta (1-4) enters the game on a three-game losing streak while Arizona (1-3-1) is coming off its first win.
- Dec. 16, 2018: Falcons won, 40-14
How they stack up
- Falcons offense: 10th overall (No. 28 rush, No. 3 pass)
- Cardinals defense: 29th overall (No. 19 rush, No. 24 pass)
- Falcons defense: 23rd overall (No. 27 rush, No. 20 pass)
- Cardinals offense: 16th overall (No. 11 rush, No. 17 pass)
I asked AtlantaFalcons.com writers Kelsey Conway and Will McFadden to weigh in and what the Falcons will need to do in order to earn their second win of the season. I’ll offer my key to victory at the end.
Kelsey Conway: The Falcons will beat the Cardinals if they don’t turn the ball over on offense. I think the Falcons’ offense will carry the team to a win over the Cardinals, but it starts with not giving Kyler Murray and Co. extra opportunities to make plays. The Cardinals haven’t forced an interception yet this season and the Falcons shouldn’t let themselves be the first team to let this happen. If the Falcons play turnover-free football and operate like they did in Houston offensively, I don’t think the Cardinals have enough star power on offense to keep up.
Will McFadden: The offense takes charge. With the Falcons’ backs against the wall after a 1-4 start, the team needs to find an identity. Everyone, myself included, has spent this week talking about the Cardinals’ offense and how dynamic Kyler Murray is, but it’s Atlanta’s offense that could be the best unit in this game. We’ve seen this offense lead the Falcons to a victory plenty of times before, and Sunday would be a great time to do so again.
Tabeek’s Take: I’m confident that the Falcons offense will score points in this one. That’s why I think the key will be the Falcons’ defense. They must contain, disrupt and pressure Kyler Murray all game long. You’ve heard the saying that the best pass coverage is a strong pass rush, and it’s true. If the Falcons can generate pressure, that will help the back end of the defense immensely. The Cardinals will definitely take their shots in the passing game and the Falcons must do a better job of swarming to the football and tackling. Should Murray get out of the pocket and scramble (and he will), the Falcons must remain disciplined in coverage and, again, bring the ball carrier down at the point of contact.
The Atlanta Falcons running backs were hard at work with the rest of the team in the second practice of the week in Arizona. Take a look at their workout and more in this gallery, presented by Quikrete.