Following a 22-point defeat in week three, Washington Football Team is trying to get back on track this week against a 1-2 Atlanta Falcons team, who are coming off of a 17-14 win against the New York Giants. Washington’s coaches are under fire yet again, mainly for three consecutive weeks of poor defensive performances and an offense that cannot stay on the field. Luckily for Washington, there is an opportunity against the Falcons to correct the course, but can they get out of Atlanta with a win? Let’s take a look at three matchups that can contribute to a win against the Falcons.
Kyle Pitts vs. WFT Defense
Kyle Pitts has been underwhelming so far to start his rookie season. However, the issue in that is it has not been his fault. His coaches have limited his snaps for whatever reason; however, his snap percentage has increased each week.
When Pitts is on the field, their offense has been much more explosive, for whatever that’s worth, given that the Falcons are the 25th ranked passing offense in the NFL. But that does not mean much when the defense has failed to cover basic passing concepts. The linebackers are allowing receivers to run free over the middle without challenging receivers to create timing issues. Pitts is in a position against Washington to have a field day, but it’ll take the back seven to stay disciplined in their coverage responsibilities and show some awareness!
Matt Ryan vs. WFT Defense
Although Ryan is an aging, immobile quarterback, he’s still a sharp football mind. Nothing is stopping a 36-year-old Ryan from identifying defenses he has seen a thousand times before. The Atlanta Falcons offensive line has not held up well to start the season; opposing defenses have sacked Ryan seven times so far and three times in two games. If Washington’s defense struggles to create pressure “and” sack Matt Ryan, he will light up the back-end of their defense. Although Calvin Ridley is averaging eight yards per reception, he is still a viable playmaking receiver, and the newly acquired offensive weapon Cordarrelle Patterson is dangerous, too.
Like Washington, Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have been bad on third downs, too, ranking 25th in the NFL. An immobile quarterback who will struggle to escape the pocket, 25th ranked passing attack, 25th ranked third-down offense, these are all the reasons in the world for Washington’s defense to create some confidence against a struggling Falcons offense.
Ereck Flowers, Chase Rouiller, and Brandon Scherff vs. Grady Jarett
There are still a couple of staples among this Atlanta Falcons defensive unit. Linebacker Deion Jones is one, and defensive tackle Grady Jarett is another. Jarett, whose breakout game came against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, has thrived in each year since. In the run and pass game, Washington’s interior offensive linemen will have their hands full when matching up against Grady. He is very much capable of disrupting drives, just like Deion, who stands behind him. If Washington wants to win the game, they will have to take over in the ground game and consistently win against the Falcons defensive front. Again, it starts with Washington’s interior lineman and their ability to win at the line of scrimmage. While the Falcons pass defense is far from impressive, this is not a game where you want to be pass-heavy when there are far better opportunities for Antonio Gibson and the running backs.
The fact of the matter here is that this is another “must-win” game for the Washington Football Team. Regardless of how some of you may perceive this season will turn out, the team has not called it quits after a bad start. A loss against the Falcons leaves Washington at 1-3 with three upcoming matchups versus the Saints, Chiefs, and Packers. Let’s see if they can turn things around.
What are some key matchups for you as Washington faces off against the Atlanta Falcons?