TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 11: Arizona Cardinals At Atlanta Falcons

Cardinals
Falcons
Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles
Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons
Quarterback
The Cardinals hope Kevin Kolb (ribs) can return to the lineup, but they have no assurances. Kolb was off to a decent start with the Cardinals but he has limited mobility and is a target for any defensive line. John Skelton is also slow in the pocket. The Cardinals make the situation worse for their quarterbacks with poor offensive line play.
Winner Matt Ryan had the Falcons in position to take a late lead in their Week 10 loss to the Saints, but he could not lead Atlanta to a game-winning score. Nevertheless, Ryan has had a sensational season and is one of the leading MVP candidates in the league. Ryan has quickness in the pocket, reads defenses well and is an accurate passer.
Offense
The running game is not operating at an acceptable level for the Cardinals. LaRod Stephens-Howling and Ryan Williams are both averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry. The Cardinals’ best offensive weapon is Larry Fitzgerald, but it’s very difficult for him to do his job when he is the primary focus of opposing defenses on nearly every play.
Winner The Falcons have a plethora of weapons and Julio Jones just may be the best. Jones has game-breaking speed, has the strength to win the battle with defensive backs and plays with maximum desire. Roddy White is one of the most dependable pass catchers in the league. Running back Michael Turner does enough to take some pressure off Ryan and his crew of receivers.
Defense
Winner The Cardinals will come after you on the defensive side of the ball. Inside linebacker Daryl Washington is having an excellent season. He leads the Cardinals with 75 tackles and he also has a team-leading eight sacks. Defensive end Calais Campbell can also get after the quarterback and has 3.5 sacks. Defensive back Patrick Peterson is one of the best cover men in the NFL.
Winner The Falcons should be able to dominate in this game against the Cardinals’ struggling offense. After lining up against the explosive Saints, this will be a much easier assignment for head coach Mike Smith’s defense. Look for middle linebacker Akeem Dent to assert himself. He had nine tackles vs. the Saints and moves well.
Special Teams
Jay Feely has a big leg and can hit field goals of up to 60 yards. However, he may not have the consistency that head coach Ken Whisenhunt wants. Peterson is a major threat on special teams because of his speed and instincts as a special teamer.
Winner The Falcons are going to make it difficult for opponents to make big plays against them in the return game. They play will speed and discipline as special teamers stay in their lanes and are rarely out of position. Matt Bryant has made 22-of-25 field goal attempts this season.

The Winner Is

Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons
Winner Falcons
4 out of 4

Now that the Falcons have tasted defeat for the first time, they can get back to playing solid football and going after the No. 1 seed in the NFC. This should be an excellent opportunity for the win as the Cardinals don’t have the offensive weapons to threaten the Falcons on their home turf.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy with Brees and company looking for their first win.

  2. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammates center Travis Frederick #72 and offensive guard La\'el Collins #71 after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys

    The Cowboys rookies have looked good the first two weeks, now they get the winless and injury plagued Bears at home.

  3. PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Xavier Grimble #85 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with Ben Roethlisberger #7 in the first quarter during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands off the football to Ryan Mathews #24 in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Philadelphia Eagles

    The two Pennsylvania teams have gotten off to 2-0 starts. Who will win the battle for interstate bragging rights?

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It
Follow Us On Twitter

Listen Live