The discrepancy in talent level between NFL teams is razor thin; it’s why the saying ‘any given Sunday’ exists. Not many teams embody that mentality quite like Mike Vrabel‘s club. The Falcons cannot take the shorthanded Titans lightly.
Arthur Smith knows better than most just who he is facing on Sunday. Atlanta’s head coach cut his teeth in Tennessee and eventually was kept on the staff when Vrabel took over. Smith worked his way up to offensive coordinator, helping lead the Titans to a 1st place seed in the AFC.
Vrabel coaches exactly like he played, and his team relishes the underdog role. The Falcons are coming off a win over the Buccaneers that propelled them to sole possession of first place in the division while their Week 8 opponents sit at the bottom of the AFC South.
Moreover, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is expected to be ruled out for Sunday’s contest, making way for Will Levis’ NFL debut.
Not only that but Tennessee is selling off pieces, trading Kevin Byard to the Eagles earlier this week, as their sights are set on the 2024 campaign. That’s the front office’s perspective, though. Vrabel and the players are focused on the task at hand.
In Arthur Smith’s return to Nashville, the Falcons head coach surely wants to beat his former mentor. Atlanta’s veteran-filled roster understands what is at stake.
Calais Campbell, Jessie Bates, Grady Jarrett, and some of the other established Falcons won’t take the Titans lightly. They know just how difficult it is to win in the NFL and know how much this means to Smith.