Atlanta Falcons: Can DBs Spark Deep Playoff Run?


The Atlanta Falcons have a great opportunity to make the playoffs after a two-year absence. Will the defensive backfield be the impetus to push for a title?

Of course the Atlanta Falcons lost a game in 2015. It was just a matter of time. Expect for the five remaining undefeated teams (Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay, and New England) to all lose at some point because very rarely does a team go unscathed during the regular season.

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Unless one of those five teams are the 1972 Miami Dolphins or the 2007 New England Patriots, they will suffer a defeat just like the Atlanta Falcons did in Week 6.

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So at 5-1 entering a road game against a 1-4 club that likely will not have their starting quarterback available in the Tennessee Titans, the Atlanta Falcons will likely advance to 6-1 after Sunday’s visit to Nashville. For the sake of simplicity, the Atlanta Falcons are projecting as a team bound for the NFC Playoffs in 2015, barring any unforeseen and devastating injury to an impact player.

Let’s assume the 2015 Atlanta Falcons make the NFC Playoffs for the 13th time in franchise history, either for the 4th time as NFC South Division Champions or as either Wild Card team.

For a franchise that has only won seven games in the postseason, do the Atlanta Falcons have the players to win multiple games in the postseason in 2015? Am I crazy to think that the defensive backfield is deep enough to orchestrate a deep NFC Playoff run?

While I have said before that the Atlanta Falcons’ defense ignites with the surprisingly deep LB corps, what will put the defense over the top is continuous, outstanding play from the secondary. CB Desmond Trufant is asserting himself as one of the preeminent shutdown corners in football, likely Pro Bowl bound. Starting opposite of Trufant is CB Robert Alford, whose ballhawking skills and improved cover skills have him rated out as one of the better corners in the NFL in 2015.

Veteran SS William Moore is the anchor of the secondary, playing anywhere DC Richard Smith needs him and FS Ricardo Allen is growing exponentially in his new role after originally being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons as a cornerback.

Even DBs like Phillip Adams, Robenson Therezie, Kemal Ishmael and rookie Jalen Collins are growing in the Falcons’ defensive backfield. The unit is benefitting from having outstanding defensive minds like HC Dan Quinn, DC Richard Smith, Assistant HC Raheem Morris, and DB Coach Marquand Manuel. The coaching staff is certainly in the process of recreating a Dirty South version of the Legion of Boom.

Though the pass rush of Quinn and DL Coach Bryan Cox is lacking thus far, the LBs and DBs seem to match up well against most of the NFC’s playoff caliber aerial attacks. Arizona likes to go vertical on with QB Carson Palmer throwing to either WRs Larry Fitzgerald or John Brown. Green Bay throws more inside to WRs Randall Cobb and James Starks since QB Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have the vertical threat in WR Jordy Nelson this season.

Carolina and Seattle will lean heavily on their tight ends. Philadelphia’s offense is not a well-oiled machine just yet under new QB Sam Bradford. St. Louis is a mess through the air and who knows what Minnesota’s identity is in the passing game under second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater.

The only team in the NFC that seems terrifying in the passing game is the New York Giants, assuming QB Eli Manning can get all three of his wideouts (Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle, and Victor Cruz) to all stay healthy.

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What I’m getting at is should the Atlanta Falcons continue to develop their pass rush, I think the defense has enough cover skills in the back seven to adequately defend the pass in the NFC Playoffs. Atlanta is fortunate it won’t have to go against either New England or Cincinnati’s offenses until a theoretical Super Bowl 50 appearance.

Keep in mind there are still 11 weeks left in the 2015 NFL Regular Season. A ton can happen between now and then, but if the Atlanta Falcons are ultimately playoff bound, I think their defensive backfield is what can carry the defense into the Championship rounds. This defense will only get better under this coaching staff. Rise Up!

Next: Atlanta Falcons: NFC Power Rankings, Week 7

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