The Atlanta Falcons won a hard fought battle this past Sunday in their home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The 24-20 win, propelled the Dirty Birds to a 1-1 record. This Sunday, the Falcons take on the Indianapolis Colts at 1pm and wide receiver Julio Jones said Thursday he and the team has put Sunday’s win in the ‘rear view mirror.’
“You have to stay hungry,” Jones said. “You have to learn how to deal with success. Every day we just have to keep working. The hay is never in the barn … it’s just that mentality. We just have to keep coming out here. We can’t be satisfied with one win. We can’t go 1-15, we don’t want to do that. That’s not the mentality. Handle success, keep working and get better.”
The Colts are still adjusting after the abrupt announcement of starting quarterback Andrew Luck’s retirement. Jacoby Brissett, who has been under center since 2017 due to Luck’s unfortunate streak of injuries, will be running the show. Brissett has started 16 games in Luck’s absence. Through the first two games, Brissett has completed 38-55 for 336 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Colts are experiencing struggles in the kicking game. The 46 year old Adam Vinatieri, missed two field goals in the 18-15 win at Tennessee. Head Coach Frank Reich was quick to silence any rumors.
“I know there has been a lot of discussion about Adam,” Reich said. “I just want to make this clear — Adam is our kicker. Like I said yesterday, we have zero concern. He’s not only our kicker, he’s an instrumental leader on our team.”
The spotlight will be on Atlanta’s defense after the impressive showing against the Eagles. Atlanta held Philadelphia to 49 rushing yards. It was a major turnaround from week one against the Minnesota Vikings. Against the Vikings, Atlanta gave up 172 rushing yards. However, another battle Atlanta’s defense must conquer is the strength of the Colts’ offensive line. Indianapolis allowed only 18 sacks in the 2018 season. One matchup fans should watch will be between Atlanta Falcons’ defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and Colts’ All-Pro offensive lineman Quentin Nelson.
The offense must be more efficient in the red zone. Matt Ryan had three interceptions against Philadelphia, one of which being in the red zone. In two games, Ryan has thrown five interceptions, two of which were inside the ten yard line. Additionally,the offensive line must alleviate the pressure Ryan is facing. Against Philadelphia, Matt Ryan was hit six times.
Atlanta: Punter Matt Bosher has been ruled out due to a groin injury. Tackle Kaleb McGary was limited in practice Friday with a knee injury.
Indianapolis: Linebacker Darius Leonard has been ruled out due to a concussion. He was entered into the NFL’s concussion protocol Wednesday. Expect backups E.J. Speed and Bobby Okereke to step in Leonard’s absence. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps), running back Marlon Mack (calf) and Jonathan Williams (rib) are listed as questionable in Friday’s injury report.