Sunday marks a curious match up between the Atlanta Falcons, and the Philadelphia Eagles. With both teams coming off their bye weeks, and the Eagles retooling their defense after firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, there's no telling exactly what the Falcons will see. Here are three things Atlanta need to do in order to ensure victory.
1. Hit Michael Vick-- early, and often
It seems fairly self evident that a defense should aim to hit an opposing QB, but when it comes to Michael Vick it goes beyond that. Vick has fumbled nine times, and thrown eight interceptions in 2012. No QB has been more adept at coughing up the ball than Philadelphia's signal-caller, and it's gotten to such a level that some analysts think that Vick will spell the end to Andy Reid's reign in Philly.
Jon Abraham has turned back the clock, and is playing as well as he ever has. If he can work off the edge and pressure Vick, then it shouldn't be too hard for the Falcons to wrap up the game.
2. Don't allow LeSean McCoy set the tone
One area that Atlanta are struggling this year is their run defense, where they are currently ranked 28th in the NFL. Part of this is due shifting personnel on their interior defensive line, but if they allow McCoy to get running it could be a long day.
On pace for over 1,200 yards, LeSean McCoy has only found the end zone once this season. However, if he's able to get into the red zone Michael Vick becomes a threat-- and against the Carolina Panthers the Falcons were hurt by a rushing QB.
3. Protect the ball, and let the Eagles bet themselves
Philadelphia will turn the ball over, that's a given. Where teams have gotten into trouble against them is when they start matching them in INTs. If Matt Ryan plays simple football, and the pass branches off the run, it should mitigate the turnovers and wait until the Eagles help beat themselves.
Matt Ryan has protected the football very well this year, and that's a large reason why they're undefeated; they just need to keep it up.