The Falcons secondary has faced plenty of challenges this season, and most of them have come in the form of opposing quarterbacks popularly believed to be the best in the game. Of Atlanta's 18 interceptions this season, 10 have come from the arms of the Manning brothers and Drew Brees. This week they face a quarterback in Matthew Stafford who is no slouch, but their primary concern will be Detroit's monster wide receiver, Calvin Johnson.
This season, Johnson is having another huge year catching the football. He's following his 1,681 receiving yards season last year with a 1,667 effort through 14 games, but he only has five touchdowns this season compared to his 16 last year. So while he's racking up the yards, he's been kept out of the end zone, but the Falcons offense knows things go through Johnson and while the unit try to limit the damage he does, it will work to make sure other players on Detroit's offense won't beat it.
"He's going to get his," safety Thomas DeCoud said. "You always have to be aware of where he's at and that's no different for us, but if we can limit him, we can't let other guys beat us."
Johnson has played about as good as any player in the NFL over the last few weeks. Entering Saturday's game against the Falcons, Johnson has put together seven straight 100-yard receiving games, tying him with Charley Hennigan and Michael Irvin for the longest streak in NFL history. His receiving yardage total leads the NFL this year and he's become the first player in league history with at least 1,600 yards in consecutive seasons.
If that's not enough, he's also the first player since Lance Alworth in 1965 with at least 1,600 receiving yards through his team's first 14 games.
In last season's game against the Lions, the Falcons "limited" Johnson to five catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.