By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN
For this edition of #PrideReport, I decided to try something new. Can’t say that it will happen every game, but I figured I’d try it out and see how you liked it. Hit me up and let me know what you think!
Aaron Freeman (@Falcfans) who is the host of Locked on Falcons Podcast and co-host of the @FalconsPFC podcast, was nice enough to chat with me, and let me ask him some questions about Sunday’s game against the Falcons. It is early, but at the same time, it’s a pretty good test for the Lions to see if they really are who we think they can be!
Me: What one thing do you think the Falcons have to do to get a win??
Aaron: Stick with their identity. Which is being aggressive on both sides of the ball. They have an explosive offense that thrives off pushing the ball down the field with play-action passing. And their defense is as fast and athletic as they come in the NFL, so not being afraid to get physical at the line of scrimmage with the Lions wide recievers and also mixing in a healthy dose of blitzes to help offset the absence of [linebacker] Vic Beasley are good ways to continue that aggression on defense.
Me: Yeah, good ol [Falcon’s Head Coach Dan Quinn] DQ is really turning your defense into a machine out there. The Lions defense really came around Monday night against the Giants. We know that the Falcons are a little but better, but…Do you see the Lions defense taking [quarterback] Matt Ryan off his game and maybe losing some of that identity???
Aaron: It’s possible given some of the question marks the Falcons have on the right side of their O-line. [Right tackle] Ryan Schraeder might miss the game with a concussion and the Falcons already were trying to overcome new starting [right guard] Wes Schweitzer after a rough performance in Wk 1 vs. the Bears. If Schraeder misses the game, his replacement (either right tackle Ty Sambrailo or right tackle Austin Pasztor) could cause the right side of the OL to be an area where the Lions choose to exploit with stunts and blitzes to catch the two least experienced starters on the team unaware, pressure Ryan and slow down this Falcons offense.
Me: And it could be a very long day for those guys if the Lions are actually able to exploit it. Despite that….[running back] Devonta Freeman scares me. I’m hoping that the Lions D Line can at least slow him down….but he still scares me!
Aaron: Yes, I think the Falcons will try to offset any issues they may have in pass protection with a healthy dose of the run game to keep the O-line as far away from those 3rd & longs as possible, in order to prevent players like [defensive end] Ziggy Ansah from wrecking their gameplan as thoroughly as he did the Giants on Monday Night Football.
Me: Yep! Ziggy was sorta nasty on Monday Night Football!!! And the Lions did hold the Giants to only 62 yards rushing. While the Falcons are much better, it will be a test. Now, how do you see the [Falcon] wide receivers matchup with the Detroit secondary???
Aaron: I think [corner back] Darius Slay vs. [wide receiver] Julio Jones will be a fun matchup between one of the best corner backs in the NFL and THE best wide receiver in the NFL. But I think the other WR-DB matchups definitely favor the Falcons. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu feasts on smaller slot corner backs like Quandre Diggs. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel’s speed is too much for anybody in that Lions secondary and I think the Falcons running backs and tight ends will also get involved by attacking the Lions line backers and safeties. So even if Slay does a good job and keeps Julio contained, I think there will be plenty of opportunities for Matt Ryan to spread the ball around and still attack that Lions defense.
Me: I just realized that I forgot to ask you how you see [quarterback] Matthew Stafford handling the Falcons defense. (How in the world could I forget about Matt?)
Aaron: The key to watch is how much the absence of Vic Beasley due to a torn hammy affects the Falcons pass rush. If they can’t get pressure, I suspect Stafford will find success. If the Falcons can pressure him, with their strong play on the back end at corner back, I think he might have a pretty tough day.
Me: One last question ….Final Score prediction??? I think 31-24 Falcons. I think it’ll be a great test for the Lions to see if they’re truly a contender, but I don’t see it happening….yet!!!
Aaron: 31-20 Falcons
Me: Thanks so much Aaron for your time! Hopefully we get a great game! Thanks again!!
There you have it. I agree with most of what Aaron says, but it sounds like the key to the Lions having a chance would be to exploit the right side of the Falcon’s offensive line and really pressure Matt Ryan. Granted it’s harder now that rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis has been ruled out for the game. With Matthew Stafford as our quarterback, one thing we know for sure.
No lead is safe!
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