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Vick Returns To Atlanta, This Time As A Starter; Must Win For Both Teams
- Updated: September 18, 2011
Each week here at FullScaleSports.com we’ll be previewing one game as our “Game Of The Week” feature and break it down in full detail. This week without a doubt the Game Of The Week has to be the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Atlanta Falcons.
For the first time since being released from prison, Vick returns to Atlanta as a starter. In his first return to Atlanta, Vick had one rushing and one passing touchdown while last season in what would’ve been his second return, Vick was injured but Philadelphia still won the game. There is no absolutely no doubt that this is still one of the most captivating games in the NFL and it will be until Vick retires.
Vick captured the city of Atlanta and still to this day, he’ll always be remembered as the #1 overall pick in the 2001 draft who electrified fans in the Dirty South for years. While there are the Vick haters who lost respect due to the dog-fighting charges, none will question the talent. Both teams can label this as a must-win and here’s why: Matt Ryan needs to improve from last week and the “myth” in the NFL is that African-American quarterbacks can’t win a Super Bowl.
Atlanta needs to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears on the road, while Philadelphia needs to prove it can stay consistent in the win column to continue their “Dream Team” label.
Here’s how each team can win starting with the visiting Philadelphia Eagles:
Vick, McCoy, and DeSean Jackson all got “theirs” in last week’s game vs St. Louis while Atlanta had five sacks on Jay Cutler. When in Atlanta Vick was run-first quarterback, after last season in Philly it’s become apparent he’s a pass-first quarterback which he’ll need to be tonight.
LeSean McCoy has got to be the X-Factor this week. Matt Forte caused some problems for the Atlanta defense and while everyone knows McCoy can run the ball, he’s also a threat in the passing game.
Player To Watch:
Steve Smith, the former Giant, will be the player to watch on offense for Philadelphia tonight. While DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek remaining as the top targets in tonight’s game, Steve Smith may go overlooked causing him to have a big game.
The Eagles have a great secondary and front line, we all understand that. What about the linebackers? While Matt Ryan certainly has some work to do, the defense must bring the pressure to disrupt him. The key here will be: linebackers.
Linebackers and pass rush will need to be in full effect for the defense. Just like Chicago, if the Eagles can apply pressure to Matt Ryan it all but sums up a win for the Philadelphia defense.
Player To Watch:
Casey Matthews, a rookie, will be put to a great test against what truly is a great offense for the Atlanta Falcons. Whether it’s being in pass coverage or making a play in the gap to bring down Michael Turner, Matthews will have to do everything in his power to be the main force in the linebacker core.
Now for the team who must win to avoid an 0-2 start, the Falcons:
They’ve got to get things going in the passing game, which will be hard with the Eagles secondary. The Falcons certainly have the skill players to get plays going on offense but it all lies in the hands of quarterback Matt Ryan.
The passing game. Without a doubt either the passing game will be there in full effect or the Eagles will shut it down completely, there will be no in between. Michael Turner will get his at some point but a win lies in the passing game.
Player To Watch:
Point blank: Roddy White must step up for Atlanta tonight. Julio Jones had 71 yards in his first career game as a rookie while White was nearly invisible. We’ve established the Falcons must pass the ball against Philly if they want a chance to win, which means Roddy White must rise.
Can the Falcons defense who had five sacks against Chicago put pressure on Mike Vick? That will be key for the Dirty Birds who will play with all eyes on their new look defense in the 2011 home opener.
Containment. Can the Falcons contain Vick and keep him at a “human” level? Can they keep LeSean McCoy to a one dimension running back? Plenty of questions that the Falcons defense will have to answer.
Player To Watch:
Dunta Robinson has a tough assignment for a Falcons defense that allowed 30 points to the Chicago Bears last weekend. The Eagles have much better wide receivers than Chicago and LeSean McCoy is one of the best young running backs in the league, look for Robinson to make a play if the Falcons want to win.
Hate to break it to everyone but only one team can win this game. While this is the most exciting game in the early 2011 season, I’ll take the Eagles in a close victory with Vick getting plenty of cheers from both Falcon and Eagle fans.
Just because of the hype, here’s a YouTube clip of Michael Vick talking about his first return to Atlanta as a starter: