Originally posted on Eagles Eye  |  Last updated 10/26/12
If Hurricane Sandy sets her course through the mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast, this upcoming match between the 3-3 Eagles and the 6-0 Falcons on Sunday may be postponed to a future date... But let's pretend for now the game is on...           At the very least, the Eagles need not be intimidated by the Atlanta pass rush, which should give Mike Vick and Marty Mornhinweg some extra courage... The Atlanta Falcons have all the ingredients you need to put together an elite pass rush. They have a lot of talent—at least on paper—plus a good defensive coordinator, and an aggressive gameplan. They've also played against some middling offensive lines. Despite that, the Falcons' pass rush hasn't really taken off. Dave Choate of the Falcoholic.com has argued that the Atlanta pass rush has been underappreciated for its impact on opposing quarterbacks, and he stands by that. What gets lost there, though, is that most of the work has been done by John Abraham, the defensive tackles and the linebackers, with occasional help from Kroy Biermann. The rest of the Falcons' defensive end rotation has vacillated between "alright" and ghost-like. This is somewhat baffling, given the combination of talent and production at the ends. Ray Edwards is clearly a useful pass rusher when he's bookending another terrific player, and having Abraham across from him is like having only a cut below Jared Allen. Yet Ray's been virtually useless at getting to the quarterback lately despite his pedigree. Lawrence Sidbury put up a few sacks last season in limited action and looked awfully sharp doing so, but he's been a complete non-factor this year, getting limited snaps and not doing much with them. Cliff Matthews has been similarly quiet when he plays. Jonathan Massaquoi is being brought along slowly, as expected, and that's about it... What's to be done by the Falcons? Without knowing the dynamics at play here, all I can suggest is that the Falcons continue to give Biermann snaps in place of Edwards in most pass-rushing situations, because he's clearly been the more effective player. The best solution of all for the Falcons would be getting El Sid and his clear speed rushing chops in there on occasion to mix things up. Whatever the solution, the Falcons need to find a way to get a more consistent push out of defensive ends not named John Abraham. With the rest of the defense playing quite well against the pass, this is probably the biggest factor preventing the Falcons from reaching the next level as a defense...you know, aside from that run defense and all... and the Eagles could and should take advantage of this weakness. I was listening to Ravens' ILB Jameel McClain on talk radio today while driving around the Delaware Valley, and he said something like this: "You don't coach against strengths, you coach against weaknesses..." Well now, if McClain is on the money with that comment, then the Eagles should be looking very hard to take advantage of the Falcons' so-far lukewarm performance in the pass rush department... Atlanta avoided close calls against Carolina and Oakland at home to remain undefeated, and have made big plays on both sides of the ball when necessary. But this a game where the Eagles must make the Falcons pay dearly for any weaknesses they have shown... This game could end up being a defensive struggle; four of Atlanta's last five games and six of Philadelphia's last eight games have gone UNDER the posted total, and seven of the last nine games between these two teams have also gone UNDER the total. But if the Mayor of Philadelphia and the meteorologists allow this game to be played on schedule, do not be shocked if Vick and Marty come out throwing. The Atlanta pass rush is suspect...and that could bode well for an Eagles' air attack that might cancel out any counterattack by Matt Ryan and his talented corps of receivers. If it comes down to defensive prowess in this one, with both teams' passing games cancelling each other out, the Eagles should hold the advantage. Weather will be a factor if the game is allowed to be played. Windy and/or rainy conditions should play into the Eagles' favor. Vick can throw darts in the wind...Matt Ryan cannot. The Eagles' O-Line has been hampered with injuries, starting with the loss of All-Pro LT Jason Peters during the preseason, then the in-season loss of Jason Kelce (C) and a sprained ankle to RG Danny Watkins.[Looks like Dennis "Hagrid" Kelly will get his first NFL start at RG if Watkins can't go on Sunday]...  How much of the Eagles' offensive shortcomings so far is on Vick and how much is on the line is up for debate, but the fact remains that  Vick takes a tremendous amount of punishment every game. Unfortunately for Atlanta, it still looks like their D-Line is anchored by John Abraham. You can expect Philly to consistently double him, so  the Falcons will be relying on  creative blitzes to try and get to Vick. I’d expect to see Atlanta's LBs get plenty of opportunities to get into the backfield...now it's up to Vick and his pass-pro blockers to read and recognize those pre-programmed blitz moves by Atlanta and provide a downfield answer... At the skill positions, Atlanta obviously has an offense that is hard to defend. However, Philly still has two very good corners who will look to lock down JJ and Roddy. The pick-up of DeMeco Ryans during the offseason has helped the Eagles LB corps, but I’d still expect Tony Gonzo to see quite a few targets come his way. Likewise, this would be a heck of a game opportunity for Harry Douglas to put up some large numbers. Atlanta can score on this Eagles defense, but it will not be easy, and much of their success will depend on whether they can get any kind of run-game going – if for no other reason than to help sell the play action and slow down the Eagles' pass rush. On the opposite side, Philly probably has the fastest skill players in the league, starting with their QB. Add in one of the most explosive RBs in the league in Shady McCoy, and two fast receivers in Maclin and Jackson, and you’ve got a very formidable “paper team.” However, the Eagles' offense has been incredibly disappointing this year, ranking in the bottom 5 of points scored. Despite getting McCoy a good number of carries, this offense has been hampered by the erratic and turnover-prone play of Mike Vick---and you know the rest of the story. He leads all QBs in the league in total turnovers, throwing 8 INTs and losing 3 fumbles. And yes---a lot of that is due to the somewhat crippled nature of the Eagles' O-Line at this juncture. The Falcons' defense matches up well, though, with play-making safeties and two very good corners. However, I’d still expect McCoy to get many touches to try and exploit the Falcons poor run defense-- and also take pressure off of Vick to make plays. Those last two bold-highlighted phrases are my keys to the game. If they hit their stride against the Falcons, the Eagles will be very hard to beat. The Falcons had better bring their best game on both sides of the ball or they will walk away with their first loss of the season. Now back to the Weather Channel...  
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

TCU extends Gary Patterson through 2024 season

Shohei Ohtani studies Bryce Harper to improve hitting

Chris Harris: Broncos need to get 'mind-control' over AFC West back

WATCH: Pat Narduzzi predicts Pitt upset win over Miami in halftime interview

Report: Florida moving on from Chip Kelly

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Derrick Rose away from team, considering NBA future

Report: Mississippi St. set to go ‘all in’ to keep Dan Mullen

Eli Manning: Losing so much 'can wear you out'

Chargers have 'real concerns' about Mike Williams's knee?

Jerry Jones reiterates support for Jason Garrett

Jay Bilas: NCAA offered committee spot to silence me

The 'Profound mound of rebound' quiz

15 key questions for NFL Week 12

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

Biggest sports turkeys of 2017

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Profound mound of rebound' quiz

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker