Gus Bradley vs. Taylor Heinicke
It is not great that the Falcons decided to bench Desmond Ridder right this week, because Taylor Heinicke is a more than adept starter and a player that I think is much better suited for using the Falcons’ abundance of playmakers. This is uncharted territory for the Falcons so defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has to make things as complicated as possible for Heinicke.
DeForest Buckner / Grover Stewart vs. Drew Dalman
The Falcons’ offensive line has struggled along the interior this season, and center Drew Dalman is at the heart of it. Buckner and Stewart were amazing against the Steelers taking advantage of a favourable matchup, and considering how Heinicke is just 6’1’’ the pressure from the inside is so much more important to make him uneasy.
The Falcons are 6-8 and never had a winning or losing streak longer than 2 games, the Colts are now 5-1 over their last six played. You never know what team is going to show up with Atlanta, as that inconsistency comes from the top, as head coach Arthur Smith is as inconsistent as it gets with player usage. This is a team that just lost to the Carolina Panthers 7-9, and rookie sensation Bijan Robinson was benched after a fumble early on in the game, receiver Drake London only has 87 targets this entire year, just give more than rookie Josh Downs! And don’t even get me started on Kyle Pitts’ usage. The Falcons’ offense is like giving a Bugatti to a grandma that refuses to drive over 10 mph.
Jaylon Jones / Julius Brents vs. Drake London
Jones and Brents are the Colts’ starting rookie cornerbacks, and as is the case with those there are some really good moments along with some killer mistakes here and there. As mentioned before, the Falcons’ usage of London is not consistent, but Heinicke might be tempted to throw the ball to his playmaking big bodied receiver a ton and giving him decent chances against two rookie cornerbacks.
Shane Steichen vs. The Pressure
The pressure is cranking up right now, and the Colts have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. The last three games are all pretty much must win to make it to the big dance, and with the red-hot Texans in the horizon for the final week the Colts absolutely have to be able to beat both the Falcons and the Raiders next week. I still remember the Colts’ collapse with Carson Wentz against the Jaguars in the final week of the season and missing the playoffs, and several players from that roster are still on the team.