After presumably stomping on Cam Newton at home in week four, the Falcons will gear up and take to the road again. Their opponents this time: the rebuilding-mode Redskins, led by some Baylor grad that worked at Subway.
2011 Record: Finished 5-11 (missed playoffs)
Noteworthy Stats: The Falcons have won three out of their last four contests with the Redskins. The most recent one was a 31-17 win at Washington.
Key Additions: QB Robert Griffin III, WR Pierre Garcon, WR Josh Morgan, FS Brandon Meriweather, CB Cedric Griffin
Key Losses: FB Mike Sellers, FS O.J. Atogwe, SS LaRon Landry, first-round draft picks in 2013 and 2014
Now don't get me wrong: I think Griffin will be a good NFL quarterback. But the national media (ESPN) has hyped-up Griffin way beyond reasonable expectations. Cam Newton didn't get this much hype. Andrew Luck, arguably the better QB in the 2012 draft class, has received comparatively less attention.
But last season, the Falcons were 5-1 against rookie quarterbacks. Mike Smith's defense picked off those QBs a total of six times. Griffin is a rookie.
Combine that with a Redskins rushing defense that gave up almost 118 yards per game last season and a secondary that has seen a lot of turnover this offseason (Tarnard Jackson has a strong chance of starting at safety), I think you'll see that this is a game the Falcons should come out of this one alright.
The new-look Skins offense should put up a fight, but this is a team still in rebuilding mode. The Falcons, on the other hand, remain a top-tier team in the NFC, and they play well against Washington.
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