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Atlanta Falcons Offense Vs. Philadelphia Eagles Defense Preview

(Sports Network) – The Falcons have achieved very good offensive balance thus far in 2010, ranking in the top half of the league in both rushing and passing for a collective mark of seventh in NFL total offense. The approach has, however, skewed toward the run, with Michael Turner (421 rushing yards, 1 TD) generally stirring the drink and Jason Snelling (244 rushing yards, 11 receptions, 3 TD) called upon on occasion as well. Turner did not play against the Eagles last year due to injury, and was held to 58 yards on 17 carries in the 2008 meeting. When Ryan (1165 passing yards, 7 TD, 3 INT) throws it, he looks most often to White (37 receptions, 3 TD) and tight end Tony Gonzalez (24 receptions, 1 TD), though that crew could be joined by a talented veteran face on Sunday. Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins, who has missed the first five games of the season due to a shoulder injury, is slated to make his 2010 debut. White and Gonzalez combined for 17 catches and 176 yards against the Birds last year, albeit in a losing effort. Ryan was sacked twice by the Browns last week, bringing Atlanta’s total in that category to 10 on the year.

The Eagles are a middle-of-the-pack 15th in total defense as Week 6 begins, but come off a week in which they bottled up 49ers running back Frank Gore (18 carries, 52 yards, two lost fumbles) and also goaded quarterback Alex Smith into two interceptions and a lost fumble. Backup cornerbacks Trevard Lindley (3 tackles, 1 INT) and Dimitri Patterson (3 tackles, 1 INT) had the picks, while end Brandon Graham (6 tackles, 2 sacks) strip-sacked Smith and safety Quintin Mikell (31 tackles) took it to the house for a critical 52-yard fumble return- TD early in the fourth quarter. Ends Trent Cole (26 tackles, 3 sacks) and Juqua Parker (8 tackles, 4 sacks) will be among the others pursuing Ryan this week, and Asante Samuel (13 tackles, 1 INT) and Nate Allen (19 tackles, 3 INT, 1 sack) will spend much of their afternoon concentrating on White. An Eagles run- stopping unit that has been hit-or-miss this year will be without the services of defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (elbow) due to an elbow injury. Mike Patterson (14 tackles) and Trevor Laws (6 tackles, 2 sacks) will have to be stout at the point of attack, with linebackers Stewart Bradley (18 tackles) and Ernie Sims (20 tackles, 1 sack) among those attempting to make plays behind the trench unit.

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