The Tennessee Titans will host the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday at Nissan Stadium for the last game of a four-game, five-week home stand. It has been a tale of two cities since the Titans played Atlanta in the Georgia Dome for the start of the preseason.
More at Titan Sized: Marcus Mariota is tougher than you
While head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his young team has struggled since beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first game of the season, it’s been just the opposite for the Falcons first-year head coach, Dan Quinn.
The Falcons have been explosive on offense this season, and it took a wounded Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints to finally hand Matt Ryan and his team their first loss of the season last Thursday night.
They come into this contest with a 5-1 record to face the 1-4 Tennessee Titans.
I had a chance this week to catch up with FanSided’s Atlanta Falcon site, Blogging Dirty and their editor Freddie Boston for a Q&A session about the matchup this Sunday.
So let’s get to it!
1. I know winning in the NFL cures most ills but how have the Falcon fans taken to Dan Quinn? I know Mike Smith was a popular coach in Atlanta but it was time for him to move on.
He’s very popular. He’s come in with a clear philosophy and has been aggressive in addressing the biggest issues on the Falcons’ roster. Quinn is a likeable person and he’s got the Falcons playing as one team and not a set of individuals, and the fans can see that. Of course, winning helps too. I’m sure some people would be a little uncertain if Atlanta was 1-5, but that’s football.
2. The Falcons are tied for last place in the NFL with only seven sacks this year, why isn’t Vic Beasley living up to his Clemson legacy?
At times, Beasley has made a real impact even if it doesn’t show up on the stat sheets. Outside of his two sacks, he’s been disruptive and could have easily had a few more to his name. But at other times he’s been silent, and I put this more down to the fact he’s a rookie adjusting to the NFL. When a player is selected so high a lot of expectation comes with it, and the Falcons will want to see more from him as the season goes on.
3. Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota has been sacked 19 times this year and tied with Kansas City for the second most sacks in the league. Will the Falcons turn the dogs loose on him and a very inexperienced offensive line?
Coach Quinn will be well aware of that, and I’m sure he has a few tricks up his sleeve to generate pressure. Maybe this can be the breakout game for Beasley, we’ll see. The Falcons’ pass rush has been fairly ineffective for much of the year, so they will need to find a way of pressuring the quarterback, whether it’s Marcus Mariota or not.
4. I don’t think the Titans can win a shootout with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, do you?
I have to agree. Atlanta can beat defenses in so many ways with the addition of a dominant run game. Defenses have been forced to stack the box to accommodate Devonta Freeman, and this loosens up the coverage on Julio Jones and a talented group of receivers. I like the potential on offense for the Titans, but it’s hard to see them keeping up if the Falcons are able to put up points frequently.
5. What’s the final score and Why?
The Titans have enough on defense to cause the Falcons some problems. The key will be to stop Devonta Freeman, because he’s dangerous once he gets a head of steam. Matt Ryan and the receivers have looked a little out of sync in recent weeks, so I think Tennessee keeps it close for a while, but with Marcus Mariota looking like he will miss the game, it’s hard to see the Titans keeping up. Atlanta wins 24-10.
Look for my answers to Blogging Dirty this weekend at their website.