The Atlanta Falcons are sitting at (1-1) on the young season and looked great in week two. The bad news for the team is the fact injuries are piling up through only two weeks of the season.
The news the Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Andy Levitre was done for the season was a huge blow for a team who has relied on their offensive line. Pro Bowlers Keanuu Neal and Deion Jones are already sitting on injured reserve.
Neal is set to miss the full season while Jones is likely out for at least ten weeks. Devonta Freeman has been dealing with a knee issue and missed week two. Initially thought to miss a lot of time it appears as if Freeman could come back sooner rather than later.
Joining the parade of injuries is star Julio Jones who missed practice today with a calf injury. The biggest concerns from all of these injuries will be how will the Falcons hold up on the defensive end?
As long as Matt Ryan is upright the Falcons are viable on offense. Even without Freeman or Jones the offense still has weapons to drive the field and score.
Defensively the losses could cripple the Falcon defense. Jones is one of the best middle linebackers in the League, his playcalling and quickness seem to always have him in the right place at the right time.
Add in a safety in Neal who is a run stopper and can cover a lot of mistakes in the secondary and the Falcon defense could be vulnerable.
Last week’s test against Carolina was a big one for Atlanta, proving up to the challenge they limited Cam Newton on the ground and kept the game close until the Atlanta offense was clicking.
Duke Riley will be expected to step up and replace Jones. Riley has seen limited snaps struggling to make the right reads on plays and being in his spots at the right times. This is likely a make-or-break stint for Riley in year two.
A big enough chance for Riley to prove himself or for the Falcons to decide they have seen enough of the young backer.
Week three is a bad time for the Falcons to be shorthanded on defense and Drew Brees and the Saints come to town. It is an early pivotal matchup for two teams looking to make a statement.
With the Bucs off to a fast 2-0 start, a win on Sunday is important for both sides. The Falcons have to hope they can attack the Saint’s defense keeping Brees off the field.
If not it is doubtful the Falcons injured defense can keep Brees from putting up points quickly. The Saints and Falcons will kick-off Sunday at 1:00 pm EST on FOX.