Prior to the beginning for the regular season when Corey Peters was injured, the thought was that as long as the Falcons could keep their defense respectable, they could make it until Peters returned. Atlanta are now undefeated, and with Peters returning to practice the defense can only look up.
This time last year, Peters had amassed 11 tackles, two sacks, and three passes defended-- to this end, replacement Peria Jerry has just six tackles in six starts. Without Peters, the run defense has really struggled, to be one of the worst teams in the NFL by average yards per carry allowed. If you're looking for an Achilles heel in the Falcons' defense, this was it; but even now that window appears to be closing.
Rotational defensive tackle Vance Walker has been stellar in limited time, and Jonathan Babineaux has been as good as ever week in, week out. Paring a fresh Corey Peters with two multi-sack defensive tackles will only take more pressure off the linebackers, which will in turn allow Sean Weatherspoon to play more aggressively, and roam more.
Speaking to the media, Mike Smith said the following of Peters:
"We will up his participation as the week goes on,"
Atlanta have three weeks to decide on whether they will activate the defensive tackle, or put him on season-ending IR. All signs right now are pointing to the positive, and if it's decided Peters can return, the team can continue to cruise as the leaders of the NFC South.