The Falcons are coming off the biggest win of the season and probably the biggest since Arthur Smith took over in Atlanta. The 49ers are widely considered playoff contenders, and the Falcons dominated them in all three phases, beating them by two touchdowns. The imposing Niners defense did little to slow down Atlanta’s rushing attack, and the Falcons forced Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Fran offense into multiple turnovers. Now, the Falcons will travel to Cincinnati to take on Joe Burrow and the vaunted Bengals’ receiving core.
Despite the Bengals hitting a few rough spots this season, they’re still incredibly talented on the offensive side of the ball. The line is extremely suspect, so that’s where the Falcons can take advantage. But on the perimeter, very few secondaries can match Cincy’s skill positions.
Joe Mixon isn’t just a runner; Ja’Marr Chase is one of the best wideouts in football. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd could very easily be WR1 on some teams across the league. And the Falcons will also see a familiar face at tight end in Hayden Hurst, who is having a decent year in a pass-happy offense.
Joe Burrow is completing passes at a 66.81% clip (9th) and averaging 248.7 passing yards per game (8th), While the Falcons, who are probably better suited to stop the run than the pass, rank 31st in opponent completion percentage (69.01%) and 31st in opponent passing yards per game (281.2). Moreover, as injuries pile up, the Falcons will likely be shorthanded this week.
Against the 49ers, Ta’Quon Graham exited with a knee injury but returned, which is excellent news for this week. Starting cornerback duo A.J. Terrell and Casey Hayward both went down with injuries. Terrell went down in the second half with a thigh injury and never returned. Though, it seemed more precautionary, and by the staff’s comments, he should be good to go this week in Cincy. Isaiah Oliver was also shaken up in the second half, but they both returned to practice yesterday.
The veteran was not as lucky and has landed on the IR with a shoulder injury. That’s a massive loss, especially if Terrell or Oliver cannot go this Sunday.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire