Week 5: Atlanta Falcons At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackMatt Ryan knows what has been said about him. He’s heard all the talk that he can’t win a playoff game. Well, Ryan won’t be able to do anything about that until January, but he’s doing all he can to play like the best quarterback in the league. He threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers in Week Four.The Redskins got another eye-opening performance from rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. While his numbers were good – 26-of-35 for 323 yards passing, 43 rushing yards and one TD – it was his ability to lead the Redskins downfield in the fourth quarter that gave them a tough road win over the Bucs.
- OffenseThe Falcons have a plethora of weapons for Ryan to choose from. The Falcons may have the most productive wideout in the league in Roddy White while Julio Jones is a great big-play threat. Michael Turner is a difference-maker at the running back slot.The Redskins are not going to fall apart offensively any time soon. The hard running of Alfred Morris has been impressive. He had 113 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs. Leonard Hankerson can go downfield and catch the ball. The offensive line has been surprisingly good so far.
- DefenseThe Falcons have been a speed-based defense for many years. The inference is that they don’t have enough muscle in short-yardage situations to kill opponents’ drives, but that may no longer be the case. Outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is an excellent tackler and he will be put to the test against RGIII and Morris.The Redskins are an upbeat story, but it’s not because of the defense. Washington’s defensive unit does not often put itself in position to stop decent offensive attacks and the Falcons are a lot more than defense. They have nobody to stop White or Jones.
- Special TeamsThe Falcons feel confident when Matt Bryant trots onto the field. He was 3-of-3 against the Carolina Panthers and he is dependable. Speedy Jacquizz Rodgers is an instinctive returner who has the potential to break big plays.If he had not made the 41-yard FG attempt in the final seconds, it’s a pretty fair bet that Billy Cundiff would have been looking for a job on Monday. He was 1-of-4 against the Bucs. Sav Rocca is a dependable punter who can kill the football inside the 10.
The Falcons may be the best team in the league through the first quarter of the season. Most notable is the performance of Ryan, who looks like the best quarterback in the league. The Redskins will be pumped to face the best team of the league at home and they will push hard, but they don’t have enough talent to hang in for 60 minutes.