Atlanta Falcons vs. Cleveland Browns preview: Back at Home


After a huge win against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte last week, the Atlanta Falcons return home to host the Cleveland Browns in the Georgia Dome. The Browns recently ended a three-game winning streak with a loss to the Texans last week, but will have star wide receiver Josh Gordon available for the first time since he was given a suspension for drug violations.

Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Time/TV: 1:00 pm ET, CBS

Falcons Offense vs. Browns Defense

The Falcons come into this matchup at a pretty opportune time, as the Browns are dealing with some serious injury issues on the defensive end. Karlos Dansby and Jabaal Sheard both went down with injuries for Cleveland in the game last week, and with the two starting linebackers out, the defense will be softened up significantly. In addition, Phil Taylor (DE), Armonty Bryant (DL) and John Hughes (DL) have been out with injuries, leaving the front seven of Cleveland’s unit extremely vulnerable.

The Browns allow more rushing yards than all but two other teams in the league at 142.1 per game, but the secondary has been solid (11th in the league) allowing 230.2 yards through the air per contest. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons try and commit more to the run game with Cleveland’s defensive situation, but either way, the damage up front for the Browns should make life easier for Matt Ryan trying to find receivers downfield.

Falcons Defense vs. Browns Offense

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This is where things get interesting.

Josh Gordon should be taking the field for the first time this season against the Falcons Sunday, and that’s a scary thought for Atlanta fans. The Falcons already give up the most passing yards in the NFL–281.2 per game–and with Robert Alford out with a wrist injury things could get especially ugly with Gordon added to the mix for Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer had a tough game last week against the Texans, but Atlanta’s pass defense is significantly worse, and adding a receiver as talented as Gordon is certainly a game-changer. He likely won’t be in 100 percent football form yet (really, how could he be?) but he’ll certainly be a focus for this less-than-impressive defensive unit.

The Browns bring an extremely balanced offense to the table. This season, they’ve thrown the ball just one more time than they’ve run the ball (325-324) and they stack up about league average in both of these categories as well.


The Browns certainly have some motivation for this game after falling out of the division lead last week and snapping a three-game winning streak in the process, but a surplus of defensive injuries could make things extremely difficult to keep Matt Ryan and this Falcons offense in check. Is Josh Gordon up for the task? We’ll find out.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will post on Sunday morning. In addition, be sure to follow ATL All Day for the latest on the Atlanta Falcons.