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This week in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints are battling not only for a football win, but for bragging rights in terms of their stadiums' food options. With hospitality company Centerplate (thus far, a resounding matchup winner) and opposing company Levy Restaurants (newcomer to our stadium food power rankings) running concessions at the stadiums, the stakes are high, and we are anxious to declare a winner.
The Atlanta Falcon’s Georgia Dome is acclaimed as the largest cable-supported domed stadium in the world. Located in downtown Atlanta, the stadium has been home to two Super Bowls (XXVIII and XXXIV), NCAA Final Four games, and has hosted an array of Olympic events. The Dome's permanent seating capacity sits just more than 70,000 and the stadium provides three times the code-required number of restrooms. Generally, it is one of the largest combined sports, entertainment, and convention center facilities in the world.
Georgia Dome's Monster Burger. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
A client of Levy Restaurants, the Georgia Dome has a slew of unique items. Two dominating themes on the menu? Tater tots and jalapeños. Among the choices is the Nacho Dog, an all-beef hot dog that is topped with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, house-made pico de gallo, and jalapeños. The Monster Burger, another fan favorite, features a 1-pound all-beef burger that is loaded with BBQ pork, bacon, fried onions, and American cheese. The stadium’s Steak and Chicken Rojo Tacos consist of Coca-Cola-braised beef short ribs or chicken, wrapped in a flour tortilla with lettuce, cilantro vinaigrette, and chipotle aioli. The Mug of Tots, which would be this writer's personal dish of choice, features a 32-ounce Falcons souvenir mug, filled with layered tater tots that are topped with chili, nacho cheese, sour cream, and jalapeños (can you say, heaven?). Their Pot Roast Steak Sandwich also features a tater tot base, topped with roma tomatoes, fried onions, romaine, cilantro vinaigrette, and Levy signature steak sauce. Carvery Carts also offers succulent sandwiches for the fans, among them their Coca-Cola-glazed ham sandwich, a Muffaletta, and hot pressed options, like the Caprese, Cuban, Roasted Chicken, and Roast Beef Melts. Also offering up tasty dishes is a venue called Genki Noodle, which features authentic Asian street food, namely yakisoba noodles.
Georgia Dome's Nacho Dog. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
The Dome also offers options for gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian fans (and those who are simply craving a vegetarian option). The Going Green Salad with Fried Green Tomatoes comes with a bed of romaine and spinach with green beans, broccoli, cucumber, and herbed-champagne dressing (and of course, the fried green tomatoes). The Sloppy Jane, a vegan riff on this popular favorite, includes tempeh, peppers, and onions, topped with molasses and brown sugar barbecue sauce. The stadium is also offering a Summer Vegetable and Tofu Flatbread, featuring marinated tofu with grilled zucchini, romaine, tomatoes, chipotle "veganaise" sauce, and sun-dried tomato pesto on grilled flatbread. Their Appetizer Dip Trio appeals to even the most meat-loving fans, offering handmade guacamole, white bean hummus, and spicy salsa, all served with pita and crisp tortillas. The Georgia Dome’s gluten-free options include hot dogs, nachos, as well as a selection of muffins and cookies.
Georgia Dome's vegetarian Sloppy Jane. Photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants.
The Georgia Dome and Levy Restaurants also bring local Atlanta vendors to the stadium each home game, and feature a local celebrity chef at 2View Restaurant, which overlooks the end zone. Not too bad, Falcons fans. Not too bad.
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints Week 17 kickoff moved
To add some drama to Week 17, the NFL has moved the Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints kickoff to 4:25 pm. The Falcons come off a dominant performance at Carolina and are in control of the NFC&rsquos 2-seed. Atlanta clinches the first round bye with a win on Sunday or a 6th loss for Detroit and Seattle.
The 9-5 Lions still have to play their Week 16 game vs the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow night. A win in Dallas clinches a playoff spot for Detroit. Either way, their Week 17 game vs the 9-6 Packers will be for the NFC North title. As expected, the NFL announced that game would be flexed to Sunday Night Football.
The full, NFL Week 17 slate is now as follows:
- Ravens at Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS
- Jaguars at Colts, 1 p.m., CBS
- Bears at Vikings, 1 p.m., FOX
- Bills at Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
- Cowboys at Eagles, 1 p.m., FOX
- Browns at Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS
- Panthers at Buccaneers, 1 p.m., FOX
- Texans at Titans, 1 p.m., CBS
- Patriots at Dolphins, 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Saints at Falcons, 4:25 p.m., FOX
- Raiders at Broncos, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Cardinals at Rams, 4:25 p.m., FOX
- Chiefs at Chargers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
- Seahawks at 49ers, 4:25 p.m., FOX
- Giants at Washington, 4:25 p.m., FOX
- Packers at Lions, 8:30 p.m., NBC.
All NFL teams will play on New Year&rsquos Day. Packers vs Lions is the only game that carries playoff implications for both participants.
More from Blogging Dirty
The Atlanta Falcons have some tough decisions to make heading into the NFL&rsquos final week. Playing for the 2-seed would mean Atlanta&rsquos starters play a full game, something head coach Dan Quinn may second-guess. Three NFL teams lost key starters to serious injuries over Week 16, a number that includes Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota.
New Orleans travels to The Georgia Dome fresh off their Week 16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints will look to send the Falcons into the playoffs with a black eye a week after spoiling the Bucs’ playoff hopes.
NFL 2016 Week 6 Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons Make A Major Move
The Atlanta Falcons marched into the Mile High City and handed the Denver Broncos their first loss of the season. Denver played without its starting quarterback, but Matt Ryan and the Falcons still met the challenge placed in front of them.
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 9: Wide receiver Julio Jones #11 and quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta . [+] Falcons talk after defeating the Denver Broncos 23-16 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
They're a major mover in this week's power rankings.
1. Minnesota Vikings (5-0) - Last Week: 1.
The Vikings' defense held another team under 20 points in their 31-13 blowout win over the Houston Texans. Minnesota should get a major test on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles after the bye week.
2. Atlanta Falcons (4-1) - Last Week: 7.
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws in the second half of . [+] the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
In a matchup of a high-flying offense against a dominant defense, the Falcons emerged victorious and climbed five spots on my list.
3. New England Patriots (4-1) - Last Week: 4.
With Tom Brady back under center, the Patriots looked scary in Week 5. Then again, they were only playing the Cleveland Browns.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) - Last Week: 5.
The Steelers have shaken off their abysmal performance against the Eagles in Week 3 and now appear ready to round into form. Pittsburgh has outscored its last two opponents 74-27.
5. Denver Broncos (4-1) - Last Week: 3.
There's no shame in losing to the Falcons this year. That's especially true when you're playing without your starting quarterback. Denver will be just fine once Trevor Siemian returns, but there's no telling if the absence of head coach Gary Kubiak will throw the team for another loop.
6. Seattle Seahawks (3-1) - Last Week: 12.
The Seahawks were idle in Week 4, but after seeing the performances of several active teams that were ahead of them in the rankings, I've moved Seattle up six spots. They'll face those dynamic Falcons on Sunday. Can the Legion of Boom contain Atlanta's passing game?
7. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) - Last Week: 13.
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 . [+] in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Week 4 win over the Cincinnati Bengals was Dallas' best victory of the season. This offense is coming together nicely. It would be a shame if the team goes back to Tony Romo and loses its momentum.
8. Green Bay Packers (3-1) - Last Week: 8.
Even with the Packers' win over the New York Giants, Green Bay didn't look like an elite team. They scored just six points in the second half. There isn't a lot of room for error if you're chasing the Vikings in the NFC North.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) - Last Week: 2.
It was on the road and only a one-point setback, but the loss to the Detroit Lions was a bad one. Many were already doubting the Eagles and that loss made it easier to get down on them.
A road game against the Washington Redskins and a home tilt against the Falcons will help Philly prove its mettle.
10. Oakland Raiders (4-1) - Last Week: 9.
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders signals to his team against the San . [+] Diego Chargers during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Raiders won last week and still dropped a spot? What gives? It's because I still can't put them ahead of teams like the Eagles and Packers just yet. If they beat the Kansas City Chiefs at home on Sunday, it's going to be hard to keep them from moving into the Top 7.
11. Houston Texans (3-2) - Last Week: 6.
There's no shame in losing to the Vikings these days, but the play of Brock Osweiler has to be of some concern in Houston. He has eight turnovers this season compared to just six touchdown passes.
12. Buffalo Bills (3-2) - Last Week: 16.
After three impressive victories in a row, the Bills are up four spots this week. They may not have received enough credit for shutting out the Pats without Brady or Jimmy Garropolo, but the 30-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams on the road helped to validate Buffalo's case.
13. Los Angeles Rams (3-2) - Last Week: 11.
The Rams had their own three-game win streak snapped by the Bills. They're on the road this week with a date against the Lions.
14. Washington Redskins (3-2) - Last Week: 15.
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 09: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass in the fourth . [+] quarter during a football game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Three game win streaks are aplenty in this section of the power rankings. Washington's 16-10 victory over regional rival Baltimore Ravens bumped them up a spot. A major test awaits at home against the division rival Eagles.
15. Baltimore Ravens (3-2) - Last Week: 10.
The Ravens failed their second big test of the season against Washington in Week 5. They're now on a two-game skid with a road game against the New York Giants on tap for this week. Another loss could deal a real blow to their hopes of contending for a division title.
The Steelers look to be hitting their stride.
16. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) - Last Week: 17.
K.C. is hoping the bye week did it some good. The beating it took from the Steelers in Week 4 is something the team likely wants to put behind them. A key division battle with the Raiders is next.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) - Last Week: 14.
I said last week, the Bengals were the best 2-2 team in the NFL. After their third loss, I believe they are the best 2-3 team in the league. That said, the loss drops them to 17th on the power rankings.
Things could get even worse as they head to Foxboro to take on the Patriots in Week 6.
18. Arizona Cardinals (2-3) - Last Week: 21.
The Cards looked a mess before their 33-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers. With a little momentum and a home game against the offensively challenged New York Jets up next, Arizona could be in position to make moves.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) - Last Week: 22.
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass against the . [+] Carolina Panthers in the 3rd quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Yes, Cam Newton was out and yes, the Carolina Panthers have been the league's most disappointing team, but the Bucs' 17-14 Monday night victory was still impressive enough to move up three spots.
The defense forced four turnovers and the offense ran the ball well with Jacquizz Rodgers. Also, Jameis Winston took care of the football and stayed interception free.
20. New York Giants (2-3) - Last Week: 18.
You can't blame Odell Beckham Jr. for the Giants' three-game skid. An ineffective run game (2.9 yards per carry vs. Packers) and an inaccurate Eli Manning (18 of 35 vs. Packers) might be a better place to start looking for a culprit.
21. Tennessee Titans (2-3) - Last Week: 24.
How good or bad are the Titans? It's hard to tell. Their three losses have come against teams with a combined record of 12-3. The two wins have come over the Miami Dolphins and Lions.
We may have to wait a while longer to answer that question. Tennessee will play host to the Cleveland Browns this week.
22. Detroit Lions (2-3) - Last Week: 31
The most drastic jump of the week belongs to the Lions after their 24-23 win over the Eagles. Many doubt the Eagles, but up to this point, Philly has been one of the league's best teams.
Beating them deserves some props.
23. Indianapolis Colts (2-3) - Last Week: 29.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts passes the ball during the . [+] fourth quarter of the game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andrew Luck was really impressive against the Chicago Bears in Week 5. His poise under pressure and throwing accuracy were noteworthy. The offensive line is still in shambles, but Luck makes the offense tough to contain.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) - Last Week: 27.
The Jags did beat the Colts in Week 4, but it was a very close game (30-27) and Jacksonville was at home. A road win over the Bears could give Jacksonville a rare two-game win streak.
25. New Orleans Saints (1-3) - Last Week: 28.
A motivated Newton could be back to lead the Panthers into New Orleans for a division battle against the Saints. The loser of the game can likely kiss their postseason hopes goodbye.
26. New York Jets (1-4) - Last Week: 20.
Without Eric Decker, the Jets' offense will probably look even worse than it has already this season. Things look dire for New York heading into Arizona to face the Cards.
27. San Diego Chargers (1-4) - Last Week: 30.
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09: Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks to pass against the . [+] Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Philip Rivers keeps firing away, but San Diego's defense can't stop anyone. Perhaps the continued impact of rookie pass rusher Joey Bosa will help.
28. Carolina Panthers (1-4) - Last Week: 19.
Dropping 9 spots is drastic–especially after a loss without Newton. That said, the Panthers should have been able to beat the Bucs at home without their starting quarterback. Mustering only 14 points and turning the ball over four times is more proof of how poorly the Panthers have played this season.
29. Chicago Bears (1-4) - Last Week: 25.
The fan base may not want to accept it, but the best approach for the Bears for the rest of the season is to tank. Even with Brian Hoyer proving to be a better option than Jay Cutler, and even with Cameron Meredith showing flashes of being a solid receiver, Chicago has no real chance to make the playoffs.
It's best to put the team in position to find its franchise QB, or to maybe broker a trade to add multiple pieces.
30. San Francisco 49ers (1-4) - Last Week: 23.
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 06: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the sidelines . [+] during their NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
After horrendous play from Blaine Gabbert, the Niners are turning to Colin Kaepernick in an effort to save their season. If he plays well on the road against the Bills, he could claim the job for the rest of the year.
31. Miami Dolphins (1-4) - Last Week: 26.
When your only win of the season is a six-point victory at home against the Cleveland Browns, you're guaranteed the 31st spot in the power rankings.
Ankou has signed with the Falcons , John Deighton of the team's official site reports.
Ankou impressed at the team's minicamp and earned a contract as a result. He has 27 games of NFL experience under his belt between the Jaguars, Browns and Cowboys.
Eli Ankou signs with Atlanta Falcons
Ranking NFL Offensive Rookie of Year hopefuls
Falcons' Olive Sagapolu: Signs with Falcons
Sagapolu has signed a contract with the Falcons , agent Jason Bernstein reports.
Sagapolu will hope to make the team as a defensive tackle in camp.
Packers add another QB to roster amidst Rodgers drama
The NFL's top 10 games in the 21st century
Stunning Brady reveal, plus NFL sked winners and losers
Stunning Brady reveal, plus NFL sked winners and losers
Predicting every 2021 NFL division winner
Falcons' Parker Hesse: Gets chance in Atlanta
The Falcons signed Hesse to a contract Thursday.
Hesse will get a chance to compete for a reserve gig in Atlanta's tight end corps, where Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst are entrenched as the clear top two options. He spent time on Tennessee's practice squad last season.
Early Bird Report: NFL expert predicts a thrilling Falcons win vs. Eagles
Today's Early Bird Report includes a prediction that the Falcons will bounce back at home in a thrilling shootout.
Since Dan Quinn's arrival in 2015, the Falcons have only twice lost their first game of the season. Those Week 1 losses occurred in 2016 and 2018, and Atlanta rebounded both times with a win in Week 2.
The Falcons find themselves in a familiar situation, and they have a tough matchup with the Eagles on Sunday in their first regular season game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta doesn't want to fall to 0-2, but to avoid that they'll need to be an Eagles team that has won the past three games between these two teams.
CBS Sports' Pete Prisco believes in the Falcons in their prime-time matchup this weekend, predicting them to upend the Eagles and win a 33-30 thriller.
"This should be a fun shootout," Prisco writes. "The Falcons looked lifeless last week in the first half in their loss to the Vikings. The Eagles did as well, but rallied in the second half to beat the Redskins. The Falcons can't handle going 0-2 to start the season, so they will find a way to win a shootout. Matt Ryan gets the best of Carson Wentz."
To see the rest of Prisco's picks for Week 2, click here.
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
AJC: It's only one loss but Falcons better get better
Atlanta's performance in its season opener was not what anyone had hoped for. It's understandable for many fans to feel deflated after the loss in Minnesota, but there's precedent with this team that something better might be around the corner.
In a recent column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Bradley illustrated the similarities between the Falcons' opener this season and their performance in a Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 – the year they reached the Super Bowl.
"Today's intent, however feeble, is to underscore the only good things about the Falcons' Sunday in Minneapolis – it's over, and it counts as only one loss," Bradley writes. "Maybe this was the dress rehearsal for the new staff that the preseason didn't allow. Maybe these coaches will go to school on what Zimmer did to them. Maybe they the Falcons rise up against the Eagles, although Doug Pederson has made a habit of wrong-footing these guys, too.
"If you're a Falcons fans, the only reason to feel slightly good today is the memory of 2016. That season started badly – and ended horribly – but in between it was sublime. And that's it. When it comes to optimism, that's all I've got."
The team and coaching staff are ready to flush their lackluster Week 1 performance and focus on the upcoming home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, and it appears Bradley is to. The Falcons have had similar starts to seasons before, can they rebound as they have in the past?
If you'd like to read the rest of Bradley's column, click here.
NFL.com: Week 2 power rankings
Following their loss to the Vikings, the Falcons have taken some heat in the power rankings. After entering the season ranked No. 16 in NFL.com writer Dan Hanzus' rankings, Atlanta slipped to No. 23 heading into their first home game.
"Bury-the-ball game for the Falcons," Hanzus writes. "Dan Quinn's team wasn't sharp on either side of the ball against the Vikings, but it was the offensive line -- a unit in which the team invested heavy resources in the offseason -- that should present the most concern for the Falcons going forward. Matt Ryan was sacked four times and hit on seven other occasions, and the line created little daylight for running backs Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith. Things went from bad to worse after the game, when Atlanta learned rookie guard Chris Lindstrom -- one of two O-linemen picked by the Falcons in the first round -- suffered a broken foot that will send him to IR. It won't get any easier when a very tough Eagles team comes to Mercedes-Benz Field next Sunday night. Quinn will begin to take some heat if Atlanta pulls another no-show."
To see the rest of Hanzus' Week 2 power rankings, click here.
ESPN: Takeaways from Week 1
The Falcons began their 2019 season with a 28-12 loss on the road to the Vikings, and the reactions were as rapid as always. There were plenty of takeaways from Atlanta's performance in Week 1, including a need to tight up the run defense, which Vaughn McClure wrote about for ESPN.
"Sure, the Falcons had costly turnovers, allowed too much pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan and couldn't get receiver Julio Jones involved against two-man coverage," McClure writes. "But fixing the run defense has to be a primary point of emphasis moving forward. With Dan Quinn coordinating the defense, the Falcons surrendered 172 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to the Vikings. They failed to set the edge, which needs to be fixed before facing guys like Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey or even Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard of the Eagles next Sunday night. 'We've got to go back to work and address it if we want to have a good defense,' defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said. 'Teams are going to do that against us, they're going to attack the edge.'"
To read the rest of ESPN's takeaways from Sunday's games, click here.
NFL.com: What we learned from Sunday's Week 1 games
Atlanta's run defense wasn't the only national media takeaways from Sunday. NFL.com's Grant Gordon wrote about the Falcons-Vikings matchup, and he had plenty to say about the start to the game for both teams as well as Julio Jones catching his first touchdown pass. But he also had a point to make about the running backs in this game.
"Running backs Dalvin Cook of the Vikings and Devonta Freeman of the Falcons each returned to action following injury-shortened seasons looking to rebound for teams looking, much the same, for returns to form following playoff-less 2018 campaigns," Gordon writes. "The contrasting outcomes for the backs - who each attended Miami Central High - were very much emblematic of their teams' fates and outlooks going forward. Cook was simply outstanding in his return. It was on the second drive that he began to shine with two carries covering 40 yards, including a 19-yard split around left end to the pylon. Cook concluded his statement-making return with 21 carries for 111 yards and two scores and provided reason to believe he can still be the back everyone expected him to be before he was derailed after four games in his rookie season. Perhaps more importantly, Cook could revitalize a rushing attack largely absent last year when the Vikings stumbled. Freeman had less than 19 yards rushing in his return. He was stifled and frustrated. Just like the Falcons as a whole. As the returning RBs went, so to did their teams."
To read the rest of Gordon's takeaways, click here.
Pro Football Focus: ReFocused – Falcons vs. Vikings
As they do after each game, the analysts at Pro Football Focus had their immediate evaluations. While they don't have the player grades right after each performance, they are able to provide a valuable glimpse of their first impressions. On the Falcons' side, Grady Jarrett was a clear standout in this game.
"Any doubts about Grady Jarrett resting on his laurels after his big offseason contract extension evaporated quickly," PFF writes. "He may have ended up on the losing team, but his performance on the interior was a tour de force of defensive tackle play, as he got into the backfield against both the pass and run, while picking up a forced fumble on his quarterback sack."
To see the rest of PFF's reactions to the Falcons-Vikings game, click here.
Atlanta Falcons Soar in Power Rankings From all Over
Things were, for Cheech & Chong, tough all over, but for the Atlanta Falcons, while still flying as high, things could not be better. Well, things could actually be, as there is always room for improvement, a smidge or two better. All things considered, however, the Dirty Birds are right up there with the cream of the crop of the NFL. And you know what they say about cream it&rsquos delicious. Oh, and it always rises to the top.
The Falcons went up from No. 5 to No. 4 (behind the Chiefs, Raiders, and Pats) following a &ldquowonderful performance&rdquo against the Green Bay Packers at home. The new Mercedes-Benz Stadium has, as it turns out, more than just aesthetic value. Atlanta players were, in Week 1, slipping all over Soldier Field like shoeless children on a newly waxed floor, but on Sunday, Elliot Harrison and Cris Collinsworth agreed that the Falcons offense looks fasteron their own turf. On defense, Desmond Trufant was highlighted. Harrison has Atlanta pegged to win the NFC South.
Atlanta moved up two spots to No. 4 (trailing the Broncos) and could reach higher when Matt Ryan and Julio Jones explode, which, according Vinnie Iyer, they have yet to do, content to let Devonta Freeman do his thang. Moreover, the defense is &ldquohappy to have its old glue guy back at cornerback, Desmond Trufant.&rdquo That&rsquos two mentions for the cornerback who did have one heck of game even better compared to his lackluster outing against the Chicago Bears in Week 1.
Comparisons are odious, but that didn&rsquot stop Frank Schwab from bringing up that fact that da Bears, Atlanta&rsquos former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan&rsquos current team, have yet to score a touchdown, while the Falcons looked, under its new OC, &ldquolike a machine for most of Sunday night.&rdquo Of course, with Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones on the gridiron, Helen Keller could be calling the plays with nearly as much success. Atlanta climbed, in this particular ranking, from the No. 3 to the No. 2 spot, behind the Steelers.
The Falcons rule, by CBS&rsquos standards, the roost. Echoing the preceding assessment, Pete Prisco writes that &ldquoThey still haven’t quite clicked on offense yet, but it’s coming. When it does, watch out.&rdquo It is, once again, a matter not of if, but when. Atlanta was ranked No. 2 the previous week.
The Falcons made the highest jump here, from No. 7 to No. 1. Atlanteans can stop worrying about the Birds letting Steve Sarkisian drive the offensive he doesn&rsquot seem likely to swerve off the road and crash the car, and then cradle the offense lovingly in his arms while it, with its dying breath, asks Sark for a last kiss. You know, like that song. Anyway, the point is that Matty Ice is averaging almost 10 yards per pass attempt and the offense as a whole ranked second by FPI.
Stadium Food Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints - Recipes
This is week three of a season long overview about the Falcons 2010 opponents.
This week, the Saints. The Falcons lead the series, 45-37, including the great postseason victory in 1991. The series started in 1967, when the Saints won the first meeting, 27-24, at old Tulane Stadium. The teams did not play each other in 1968, and every year since 1969, have played every season.
This is a rivalry series, doesn't get a lot of pub like the Bears-Packers, or Redskins-Cowboys, but it might especially should these teams contend for a few years. There's been a lot of great games and duds in this series. One of the duds (especially for Saints fans) was the 62-7 destruction job of the Saints opening day 1973, not going into details, but it was UGLY!! Best game was the first round playoff game in 1991, when the Falcons were down by 10 entering the fourth quarter, in which Chris Miller hit Michael Haynes with the long TD pass which helped seal the 27-20 victory.
Of course, we've had those big ben games of 1978, and the goofy OT game on opening day 1979. Been a streaky series, with then Falcons winning ten straight at on point. Currently, the Falcons are 1-7 in their last eight games against the Saints. It's time again for the Falcons to turn that in their favor. Falcons are 3-1 in OT against the Saints. Most of the games in this series are rather close (what you expect otherwise) and I expect the same on Sunday. Falcons outplayed the Saints both times last year, and they had two L's to show for it, and we need not go over those games again.
They haven't won in the Superdome since 2002, when Jay Feely kicked a game winning FG as time expired. Last road win was in 2005, at San Antonio when Katrina had displaced the Saints from NO. Now, it's on for Sunday, and Good Luck Falcons!!
<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>
Stadium Food Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints - Recipes
This post is the second part to Turner_The _Burner's post Best Case Scenario vs. The Saints. It can be read here.
It's that time of the week again when Turner_The_Burner and I, dunlagh, will give you a breakdown of the 3 best case and 3 worst case situations for the game. These will focus on different parts of the Falcons game where they could soar or suffer against our opponents. Obviously we’re Falcons fans, and have a bit more knowledge of the Dirty Birds than some other teams, so if you’re a visitor or just an NFL purist and we make a shocking mistake, please call us out on it! Other than that I hope you enjoy our work.
At mid season we are in a decent place, considering the tough competition that is the NFC South. However we are up against the toughest team left on our schedule. And this strikes me as the 2nd most important game we have left (the most important also being against the Saints). The Falcons and Saints have a good rivalry going on especially as we are 2 (dare I say it) Super Bowl Caliber teams who play each other at least twice a season. I personally have a great respect for the team as I love a good rivalry, but as a fierce Falcons fan (try saying that 5 times fast) I do want to see us destroy the Saints. So entering week 10, we give you the 8th best case/worst case scenario for 2011.
Flipping it to the Saints
I get to play the role of doomsayer, as I speak about 3 areas where New Orleans can hurt us bad. The Saints have often been touted as the one team that can beat the all mighty Packers in the NFC, however they also lost to the Rams and as funny as that is, it also means they can be beaten. Now Falcons are riding on a high after a good flogging of the Colts and we will try to keep the momentum going. However this will be no easy task, so the 3 worst case scenarios for the Falcons are - The Saints Run Deep, Tough Trench Warfare and Bachman Turner No-Drive
The Saints Run Deep: The Saints have been stacked at RB for a while now, their last season rushing leader Chris Ivory is now 4th on their depth chart and though they let Reggie Bush go, they picked up Darren Sproles and drafted Mark Ingram. They have a very deadly backfield as they have both capable power backs as well as speed backs, Now even with Ingram out it takes little away from their danger, Ingram will be a good runner but right now Chris Ivory is just as good. Ivory is fairly one dimensional in his playing style as a hard nose runner, however he is strong enough to break some tackles and fast enough that he once broke for a 55 yard TD. Thomas provides a more dangerous combination of pass catching and power running, with that diversity he strikes me as a Matt Forte mold player and is in my opinion the most deadly player in that backfield. Sproles, their newest member of the 3 and is a very deadly player, give him some space then he will burn you and even when you don't, he still can find some room. Sproles lacks the power of the other two but makes up with it in elusiveness.
The depth of this backfield will be tough for the Falcons as it will require the front 7 to be on top of their game. Saying this, Lofton and 'Spoon have been playing at the highest level this year but even they will be tested. Sean Peyton is a very smart coach and will line his backs up in various formations to force Lofton and 'Spoon to account for multiple people every play. Babineaux and Peters will have to close the middle for Ivory and Thomas and force them to go wide, if not then the field becomes very big to cover, even for our dynamic LB duo.
Tough Trench Warfare: One of the keys for most games is who gets to the QB more, and when looking at how the Saints achieve this its quite surprising. Their D-line has some decent players with Will Smith, 1st round pick Cameron Jordan, Sedrick Ellis and Turk McBride. However it is their SS Harper who has the most sacks on the season with 5.5. In fact for the Saints their back 7 (10.5 sacks) have more sacks their their D-Line (9.5 sacks), which strikes me as odd, however the Saints have always struck me as a big play defence team which focus' on take aways. If Will Svitek doesn't play at a high level and the O-line doesn't mesh and look for a blitzing corner, safety or LB, then the Saints opportunistic DB's will surely force a turnover or two. Make note that the Falcons have allowed the 6th most hits to their QB with 47 and Saints have the T-11th best pass rush with 20 sacks. I can almost guarantee that Ryan will be pressured this week and if he is not smart, accurate and given a bit of time, we will not be able to keep up with the Saints offensive acumen.
On our defensive side of the field we have a tough job considering the QB we face, Brees knows the Falcons well enough to cause us a lot of grief IF we give him the chance. Sadly, considering our pass rush this year, he probably will have that chance. Abraham is having a tough year with only 3 sacks, Edwards has been opportunistic in collecting fumbles however has only grabbed 2 sacks, the same number as El-Sid and Spoon. Peters has picked up 3 and USS Babineaux and Duffman only have 1 each. This may be attributed to the poor play of our DB's early in the season however we still aren't applying consistent enough pressure considering the talent we hold. If somehow the 67 receivers that Brees has to throw to can be covered for a couple of seconds then we could force some QB hits we might be able to slow him down, but Brees is a very accurate, very dangerous QB and there is a chance he could beat us regardless of the defences play.
Bachman Turner No-Drive: Last week we faced a very uninspired Colts defense which is one of the easiest match ups we will face with Turner, however he only managed 71 yards on 19 carries for a uninspiring 3.7 ypc. This was against the 31 ranked defence a team that gives up an average of 146.1 yards per game on the ground, you would hope one of the premier Running Backs in the NFL could muster up more then 71 yards. Now in all fairness Turner sat out the last quarter and thanks to our dynamic rookie duo of JJ and Rodgers we ended up with 163 yards on 41 carries, a yard shy of a perfect 4 ypc average.
Snelling didn't help the matter as he churned out a lazy 8 carries for 15 yards not even mustering up 2 yards per carry and 6 of those yards came on one run. I have my own theory about why Snelling is extremely valuable to this team beyond being a FB/RB jack of all trades football player. However this game was just bad, even worse as it was against the 2nd worst running defence in the league, the game was a blowout in the 4th quarter and he was fresh against a defence that had been getting killed for the last couple hours. However I have a theory about the Falcons: if they can play a complete offensive game then, like in the Colts game, a team must naturally focus on either the running game or the passing game, and since the Falcons have the talent and depth at both positions, they can beat any defence in the NFL. However having our run offence slowed against such a poor team is cause for concern.
Unfortunately that is all we have for this week. But we will be back, we always are. A win here will put us in the driving seat heading to January a loss will mean any mistake could cost us a playoff stop. But until next time, I wish you good luck and all the best to the Falcons - this should be a great game.
<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>
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Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight End
1. Travis Kelce, vs Arizona Cardinals – The Cards have been tough on tight ends but Kelce is a different breed
2. Zach Ertz, vs Dallas Cowboys – Golden Tate, no Golden Tate, it doesn’t matter to a player like Ertz who is so consistent every week
3. George Kittle, vs New York Giants – If Kittle can produce like he has with bum quarterbacks, imagine what he’ll do with a good one
4. O.J. Howard, vs Washington Redskins – He continues to make the signing of Cameron Brate look more ridiculous with every passing week
5. Jack Doyle, vs Jacksonville Jaguars – The volume will almost always count more than the matchup with tight ends
6. Jimmy Graham, vs Miami Dolphins – Any part of an Aaron Rodgers-led offense is always worth a start
7. David Njoku, vs Atlanta Falcons – The matchup is great but Njoku is questionable headed into the game
8. Austin Hooper, at Cleveland Browns – The Browns blitz a ton so Hooper might be a safety valve for Matt Ryan
9. Ben Watson, at Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals bleed points to the tight ends
10. Jared Cook, vs Los Angeles Chargers – I hate playing any Raiders offensive player but tight ends are scarce
11. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins – If he doesn’t play, Vernon Davis is close to a top five tight end and a cash game staple in DFS
12. C.J. Uzomah, vs New Orleans Saints – Someone has to help Tyler Boyd in the passing game aside from Joe Mixon
13. Rob Gronkowski, at Tennessee Titans – Possibly my boldest call of the season but I’m not going to start Gronk this week where I have him
14. Chris Herndon, vs Buffalo Bills – I don’t know how the chemistry is between Herndon and Josh McCown but the Jets have very few options
15. Nick Vannett, at Los Angeles Rams – Figuring out the Seattle tight ends is like throwing darts but I’ll side with Vannett off a very nice game last week
Stay tuned to Fantasy CPR for all the latest DFS NFL news and Fantasy Football analysis all season long!