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Atlanta Falcons Schedule Preview, Week 3: Battle With Rivers On The West Coast

Continuing with their tour de AFC West, the Falcons will take on the Chargers in a winnable week three away game.

2011 Record: Finished 8-8 (missed playoffs)
Noteworthy Stats: No. 28 pass defense, No. 17 run defense in 2011.
Key Additions: WR Robert Meachem, WR Eddie Royal, LB Jarrett Johnson, LB Demorrio Williams, FB Le'Ron McClain, DE Melvin Ingram (draft pick)
Key Losses: WR Vincent Jackson, RB Mike Tolbert, DT Luis Castillo, G Kris Dielman, OT Marcus McNeill

The Chargers of last season were a team of disappointment and injury. Country-fried QB Philip Rivers, despite surpassing 4500 yards through the air, threw a career-worst 20 INTs and fumbled the ball seven times behind an O-line that had its fair share of problems.

They lost their top receiver in Jackson and are attempting to replace him with Meachem and Royal (not quite the same). Still, Rivers will likely bounce back from a rough 2011 and the offense should be fairly potent, despite some real questions on the O-line after the retirements of McNeill and Dielman.

The defense, however, remains a major soft spot. Their pass defense, especially their secondary, is a real concern for Chargers fans. CB Quentin Jammer is getting up there in age, and other starter Antoine Cason has yet to really live up to his first-round billing.

For the Falcons, I believe this game to be very winnable. They certainly match up well against San Diego's defense, and I expect Matt Ryan to have a huge game. I also expect Mike Nolan's defense to really bring the pressure on Rivers and the weak offensive line around him.

It's also worth mentioning that the Falcons are 7-1 against the Chargers all-time, and won in San Diego as recently as 2008.

Verdict: Win
The Falcons play impressively and win by a touchdown, making them 3-0 on the season.
Do I sound like a homer yet?

For more on this game Falcons fans should visit The Falcoholic and Chargers fans should check out Bolt From The Blue. For more news and notes from around the NFL head over to SB Nation's NFL hub page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.