Hot: Matt Ryan
He has been on the “hot” list for all three weeks so far, and boy has he justified it. The Falcons have had the best offense in the league through three games and Matt Ryan is the main reason why. He was awarded NFC Offensive Player of the Month after putting up his third consecutive outstanding performance, this time eating up the Saints defense for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns. He found eight different receivers throughout the night and really exploited the play action once New Orleans began respecting the run.
Hot: Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman
Fast & Furious, Batman & Robin, whatever you want to call them, Freeman and Coleman have made it known that they are one the most dangerous RB duos in the league. Both of them put up stellar performances against an injury riddled Saints defense, both through the air and on the ground. Devonta Freeman had an extraordinary 207 yards on 19 total touches to go along with a touchdown and a couple of nasty jukes that left Saints players in the dirt. Tevin Coleman added 89 total yards and made his mark in the TD department with three rushing scores on the night.
Hot: Deion Jones
The excitement for our second round pick could not have been higher after Deion Jones put together another stellar performance in his third game the starting MLB. He has 25 tackles through three games and was flying around like always bringing down ball carriers on Monday Night Football. The icing on the cake was his 90-yard pick six on Drew Brees as he showed off his blazing speed in his hometown of New Orleans.
Hot: Brian Poole
The third CB position was supposed to be a major issue for the Falcons coming into the season, but undrafted rookie Brian Poole has been an effective nickel corner and saw plenty of playing time in Week 3. He finished with six tackles on the night, including one major tackle-for-loss in the open field. However, that wasn’t even his biggest play of the night, as he jumped a route on a quick throw by Brees and deflected the ball to allow Deion Jones to get his interception. Through the first 3 weeks, it is looking like Atlanta has found a true gem in Brian Poole.
Cold: Derrick Shelby
Shelby was described by many to be an under-the-radar free agent signing for Atlanta, but he has been pretty ineffective since joining the team. He did have one pass deflection after creating a good push up the middle, but other than that he did not appear anywhere on the stat sheet. He has failed to create consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and did nothing against the run against the Saints.
Cold: Philip Wheeler
Even though he started the game in place of Devondre Campbell, Wheeler also failed to record a single tackle. Rather, he was the recipient of two costly penalties, including one roughing-the-passer call on third down. Wheeler will have to play much better if Campbell is forced to miss any more time with an ankle injury.
Cold: Julio Jones
Julio only had 1 catch on 7 targets against the Saints, but there should be minimal concern as the rest of the offense was clicking on all cylinders. In addition, Julio was playing through a calf injury and a lingering ankle tweak, but he assures that neither will be problems for Week 4. Either way, I’m sure most fans would be just fine with Julio not dominating the ball if it means the rest of the offense is playing as well as it did on Sunday.