FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s the TV and Radio info for the Falcons (5-4) game against the Tennessee
Titans (5-4) which is set for 4:15 p.m. Sunday night at the Georgia Dome.
RADIO COVERAGE: Star 94 (94.1 FM/790 AM): Play-by-play: Wes Durham, Color Analyst: Dave Archer, and Sideline: John Michaels.
TV COVERAGE BY CBS: Play-by-play: Ian Eagle and Color Analyst: Dan Fouts.
NATIONAL RADIO BY WESTWOOD ONE: Play-by-play: Howard David. Color Analyst: Tony Boselli.
Q: How’s your preparation for Sunday’s game going?
A: I did the Falcons and Packers playoff game on radio last year and at that point I think the feeling around the league was that Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan were neck and neck with who’s going to be the next guy that jumps into the upper echelon of quarterbacks and we know what’s happened since then. Rodgers won that game, advanced on to the Super Bowl and now is the favorite to win the MVP. Matt has basically stayed at the same level. It’s amazing to think back to that one game as playing a pretty large role in the perceptions of where these two quarterbacks stand in the league.
Matt was right there. Now, here he is in a dogfight to try and make the playoffs. I still think they are a playoff team. I look at the logjam in the NFC and I still believe they can go to the postseason. The issue for me, just looking at the numbers, is that all of their wins have come against sub-par opponents with a combined record of 14-32. All of their losses have come against teams that are 26-11. That shows me that they are team that’s beating the teams they are supposed to beat. Teams that are at their level and above their level, they have not been able to breakthrough against them.
Q: What’s does your analysis of the defensive numbers tell you?
A: They are too inconsistent thus far this season. You would think that their defense would be farther along than it is at this stage. The playmakers are still there. [Curtis] Lofton is a playmaker. DeCoud makes plays, but he also makes mistakes. I’d say that their defense has been more frustrating than it’s been reliable so far this season.
Q: Any key matchups for you on Sunday?
A: The key matchup to me is how they deal with a veteran quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck has really been impressive with the way he’s led this team. He’s going against a good secondary as we know. His experience has really stood out over the course of the season for Tennessee. This is not a great receiving corps. They lost Kenny Britt. He’s now made Damien Williams into a legitimate threat. They find a way. With the Titans, nothing really jumps out at you, but they’ve been very competitive throughout the season even with a running attack that we all assumed would be among the best in the league. It’s Hasselbeck against those corners and that secondary.
Q: Do you expect the Falcons to handle adversity and bounce back from a tough loss?
A: If you look at the history under Mike Smith they’ve been very good bouncing from losses. They don’t lose consecutive games. It been 28 straight games where they haven’t suffered back-to-back losses. The precedent has been set that this team seems to respond and bounce back under adversity. While there is still a lot of season left, this is a really pivotal game for these two teams. Looking at the standings, Tennessee is now in a position, with [Houston quarterback] Matt Schaub out for an extended time and potentially for the season, they’ve got an opening here with Matt Leinart going in. How do they handle that knowing that things might have just gotten a little tighter in the AFC South. For Atlanta, winning the division looks unlikely. Now, it’s a matter of fighting for playoff position. Unfortunately, when you get into the wildcard race, some things are out of your hands. All you can do is worry about going out and taking care of business and that’s what Atlanta faces this week.
Q: Are you looking forward to returning to the Georgia Dome?
A: I have not done a television game at the Georgia Dome since the Dan Reeves era. I’ve done a bunch of radio games there. I always enjoy calling games [at the Georgia Dome.] They have great sight lines. We have two teams that are playing well. Very good ambience and having called that Falcons-Packers game on the radio, the energy and the electricity was tangible coming into the game and then obviously things changed in a hurry. I’m looking forward to getting back to the Georgia Dome to call the game on television.
Ian Eagle is in his 14th year at CBS covering the NFL. It’s his second year working with Dan Fouts. He’s also worked with Rich Gannon, Solomon Wilcots and Mark May. Also, he’s been the voice of the New Jersey Nets for 18 years and has done the NCAA basketball tournament for last 14 years for CBS and he does the Thursday Night NFL games on Westwood One Radio with Trent Green.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog