Atlanta Falcons Welcome Washington to the Dome


The Atlanta Falcons (4-0) will host the Washington Redskins (2-2) in a Week 5 matchup. The Atlanta Falcons are a 7 point home favorite in this NFC game.

From the national perception, the two most pleasant surprises through the first quarter of the 2015 NFL Season in the NFC are probably the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins.

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Atlanta looked like an improved team during training camp, but their 4-0 start was in no way expected by even the most diehard of Atlanta Falcons fans. Through the first quarter, the Washington Redskins seem like a decent to good football team when many, yours truly, believed they were going to end up as one of the worst teams in 2015. Basically, Washington isn’t picking in the Top 10 in the 2016 NFL Draft anymore.

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The Atlanta Falcons have a balanced offense, a transformed offensive line and front seven, and a tenacity that doesn’t allow the team to give up when they are behind in the fourth quarter. The Washington Redskins have shown that they can control the line of scrimmage, slow down the run, and can move the chains on the ground with their rushing attack. Something’s got to give in this game, right?

Unless the Atlanta Falcons eviscerate the Washington franchise in this one, both teams will still likely be held in high regards entering their Week 6 games. Essentially, Atlanta could lose and still have a 4-1 record, in good position to make an NFC Playoff run. Should Washington drop today’s game and fall to 2-3, it would be to a team that started the year 5-0. There’s no shame in that.

For the Atlanta Falcons to win this game, look for the running game to continue to test their strength against the second best run defense in the NFL. If Atlanta can put up yards on decent front sevens in Philadelphia, Dallas, and Houston, why can’t they do the same against Washington?

The reason that Atlanta needs to establish the run is to open up the play-action pass. Getting the Washington front seven to bite on the play-action will allow Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan to air it out to his deep receiver corps against an underwhelming Washington secondary that is sans CB DeAngelo Hall.

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On the defensive side of the ball, the Atlanta Falcons will need to create an effective pass rush to throw off Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins‘ timing in the pocket. When Cousins throws a pick, he throws three. Atlanta has shown great awareness on defense and loves to force turnovers.

I see this as a close game until the Atlanta Falcons gain a plus two in the turnover margin on the Redskins. When the happens, expect the score to start to heavily favor the Falcons. Atlanta has been fantastic so far in creating points off turnovers, either on the next offensive possession or right away like they did twice against the Houston Texans last week.

This is one of those surprisingly good games on the NFL’s slate this week. Who honestly would have thought the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins’ combined record entering their Week 5 game would be 6-2? The Week 5 game will come down to quarterback play and turnover differential. Atlanta is better in both departments and should win this game by two scores.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 31, Washington Redskins 20

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