The Falcons are back home and back to work in Flowery Branch this week as they prepare to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in the Georgia Dome.
As it has been every week, the ball will continue to be the main emphasis in Sunday's game. Offensively, the Falcons will need to continue with their high regard for the football as San Diego has forced 11 turnovers on the year. Defensively, the ball-hawking mentality will be in full as head coach Dan Quinn continues to stress that part of Atlanta's game. The Chargers' offense, Philip Rivers in particular, have shown they aren't scared to throw the ball downfield. San Diego leads the AFC and ranks third in the NFL with 28.8 points per game.
"The reason the ball is everything for us we were minus-2 in our last ball game," Quinn said. "We know that's going to be the factor. It's a team stat, not an offensive stat. We forced three fumbles, and didn't recover any. So, we could have very easily been plus-1, and then we saw we were doing a good job with the ball."
Attack in All Three Phases
In order to slow down the Chargers, Coach Quinn says it will come down to attacking in all three phases of the game. San Diego's main returner, Dexter McCluster, has proven over time that despite his small 5-foot-8 and 170-pound frame, his shifty, quick burst of speed can be dangerous.
For Atlanta's offense, it all starts with the run game. When the Falcons have been able to get Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman involved early, the passing game has greatly benefited. San Diego has one of the league's best rushing defenses, only giving up one run of 20-plus yards, ranking 5th overall.
Defensively, the Falcons will look to squeeze the pocket on Rivers. He's not one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the game, but his ability to take command of the line of scrimmage and quick release have made him one of the most consistent quarterbacks through his 13 years in the NFL.
"Our ability to attack in all three phases," Quinn said. "They have a good return game. We've got to make sure our special teams play special. Offensively, the way for us to attack is having that balance. Both in the run game and the play action. Defensively, it's going to come down to our ability to run and hit and ball-hawk."
Bring the 'Juice'
After two weeks away from the Georgia Dome, the Falcons will be back at home on Sunday.
Atlanta has just four road games left on their remaining schedule so it will be imperative for the team to take care of business at home, and the fans can play a big role in that.
"Bring our energy for the fans," Quinn said. "We are going to feed off one another. Make sure we bring the juice for them, so they can give the right juice back to us. We definitely play off their energy as well."