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Point-Counterpoint: Week 5


Every week there's a rush of information in the days leading up to gameday. Bloggers, TV analysts, reporters, fans … everyone has an opinion, and in the age of hyper-speed new media, everyone's got a chance to share it.

But sometimes it's tough to focus through all the noise.

Here we examine three storylines entering Week 5 that you'll surely hear all about. We present the flipside — the ideas from inside the walls of team headquarters — to suggest what the Atlanta Falcons are thinking of the popular headlines.

What they will say:If last week wasn't a trap game, this week will be. After two straight final-second game winners, Atlanta is primed for a letdown on the road.

What we're saying:The Browns have played some tough games in the first four weeks of the season, losing by margins of three, two and seven. The Falcons have showed a resolve to come back from mistakes and do the right things when it mattered most.

Statements about taking each team seriously every week and acknowledging that every team is littered with talented players is not the Falcons paying lip service. Atlanta has a short memory when it comes to wins or losses and they'll enter Cleveland ready to play.

They'll also see the other side of this equation: Cleveland, after tough losses and a potentially momentum-building win over an in-state rival, is ready to take the next step.

What they will say:The Falcons have a history of sacking Jake Delhomme during his time with the Carolina Panthers. Entering Cleveland on Sunday, they'll be ready to feast on an old familiar foe.

What we're saying:The Browns' offensive line's talent will not be lost on the Falcons. So far this season, only three teams have allowed fewer sacks than Cleveland's four. Atlanta knows getting to the quarterback against the Browns is a difficult thing.

The Falcons actually have to prepare for two different quarterbacks with two varying styles. Because they know Delhomme may return under center, they have to be ready for him, but Delhomme's backup, Seneca Wallace, has played well in recent weeks.

Not only did he beat the Bengals last week, he also played tough against the Ravens, leading two touchdown drives against what many believe is the best defense in football.

What they will say:The Falcons' quickly-improving defense shouldn't have a problem against a Cleveland offense that is only averaging 17 points per game.

What we're saying:If they didn't know it already, Atlanta learned against San Francisco that sometimes stats on paper lie.

While the Browns' quarterbacks have had some success, much of what Cleveland has accomplished has come on the shoulders of lumbering running back Peyton Hillis.

Hillis, a blue-collar style running back, may be the toughest, straight-ahead runner Atlanta has faced this season. In the past two weeks, Hillis has gained 246 yards with two touchdowns. His season average per carry yardage is an astonishing 4.9 yards. Even in limited action in the season's first two games, Hillis scored two touchdowns.

It should also be noted that the running back's numbers on the ground in the past two weeks came against two of the league's better defenses, Baltimore's and Cincinnati's.

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