The Atlanta Falcons (0-2) matchup with the Chicago Bears (2-0) is about as much of a must-win as they come in Week 3. As the Falcons look to get their first win of the season at home against an undefeated NFC opponent, FOX color analyst and former Saints' linebacker Jonathan Vilma joins AtlantaFalcons.com to provide his insight and analysis heading into Sunday's game.
What are your thoughts on the Falcons through two games?
Jonathan Vilma: With the Falcons offensively, they've done a really good job – even with Julio Jones not being as productive as we'd all expect—they're still very efficient offensively. Defensively, they're just giving up too many big plays. I understand you're up 20 points and you might bend but not break, but there are a lot of holes they need to get cleaned up.
What is the biggest hole they need to fix?
JV: Explosive plays and that's what is getting teams down to the red zone. In the red zone, they are not doing a good enough job of making offense's kick field goals. It's making games a lot closer than they should be and then unfortunately losing those games.
What are the issues you see that are contributing to the explosive plays?
JV: It looks like they have some communication errors and that looks like that is the biggest thing. When you have communication errors, 10 guys can be doing it right, one guy is not and then all the sudden it's a 40-yard play down the middle of the field. I don't know who calls the signals, but someone has to get everyone on the same page to clean up those communication errors.
Thoughts on the pass rush?
JV: I thought Grady Jarrett applies a good amount of pressure. But I didn't see much pressure from the rest of the defensive line unless they were blitzing and that causes a problem if you have to always blitz to get a pass rush. That means that you have to either play tight man behind them or you're going to have a hole in one of your zones that's going to be open because you're rushing five or six. I don't know the health of Dante Fowler, if he's going to go with that ankle, but they definitely have to find a way to get more pressure with the four down linemen.
What do you like about what you're seeing from Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley?
JV: Calvin Ridley, his speed just pops out every time I'm watching him. He's very explosive and I can tell that not only do the coordinators, but the players respect his speed. I say that because he can go over the top, but he also is going to be wide open on a lot of the intermediate routes because people respect his speed. Matt Ryan is doing a great job of spreading the ball around. Hayden Hurst has become a nice target for him as well.
Final thoughts on the upcoming matchup between the Falcons and Bears?
JV: I think it's a very interesting matchup because you have a 2-0 team in the Bears that could easily be 0-2 or 1-1 and then you have the same thing on the other side but they're 0-2 with the Falcons. I wouldn't look too closely at the record. There's an advantage for the Bears in the run game but I would also say there's an advantage for the Falcons in the passing game. It's hard to say if the Bears passing defense is going to be able to slow down or hold the Falcons' offense, if they do, I think the run game for the Bears and Trubisky making timely throws will be the deciding factor.
Take a look at the best practice photos as we head into Week 3 in this gallery, presented by Quikrete.