Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- This is a matchup of two teams who have holes but are still in the NFC playoff picture.
- This shapes up as a slow-paced game with two teams who run the ball at a high rate and play at a very slow tempo.
- The Commanders have won five of their last six games, with their one loss being a tight 4th quarter loss to the 9-2 Vikings.
- The Falcons are 1-4 on the road this year and have scored 17 or fewer points in each of their last three road games.
How Atlanta Will Try To Win ::
The Falcons run the ball at the highest rate in the league and play with the 5th slowest tempo in the league. Their approach is to slow games down and try to bludgeon a defense to death with a variety of different runners, including quarterback Marcus Mariota. This is a unique approach for a team that has one of the bottom-tier defenses in the league, but on the struggle bus that is the NFC South, it has been enough for the Falcons to stay in the hunt. Mariota has not attempted over 30 passes in a game since Week 1, which highlights just how committed the Falcons are to the run in all kinds of game scripts.
The Falcons preferred method of attack could hit a snag this week against a Commanders defense that has been lights out recently, holding four of their last five opponents under 100 rushing yards. In the last two weeks, the Commanders held the Texans under 150 total yards and the Eagles, who have the #2 rushing offense in the league, to 94 rushing yards. The Commanders defense also ranks top-8 in the NFL in both PFF pass rush and coverage grades and could be getting back star edge rusher Chase Young this week. We know the Falcons will try to win this game on the ground, as they always do, but they will have tough sledding in that department and will also be at risk of sacks and turnovers during the times they actually do throw the ball. The loss of talented tight end Kyle Pitts will likely only strengthen the commitment of the Falcons to running the ball while also serving to hamstring the offense’s efficiency as a whole. While Pitts was underutilized, his presence on the field was something that had to be accounted for and is now gone.