Falcons DE John Abrham vs. Chargers LT Mike Harris: Abraham has 113 sacks, most amongst active players. He should have a favorable matchup against Harris, an undrafted rookie free agent with two career NFL starts. Harris (6-foot-5, 318) played at UCLA. The left tackle spot has been an issue for the Chargers since Marcus McNeill suffered a season-ending neck injury in a home loss to the Raiders last season. Abraham posted a sack/strip against the Chiefs. He moved into sole possession of second place on the team’s sack list with 59.5. Abraham played 71 percent of the snaps (49 of 69) against the Chiefs and 78 percent (57 of73) against the Broncos.
Falcons RB Michael Turner vs. Chargers LB Takeo Spikes: Turner is off to a slow start this season. He has rushed 28 times for 74 yards (2.6 yards per carry) and one touchdown. He will attempt to have a big game against his former team and rebound from his DUI arrest. Spikes, who was voted a team captain, leads a unit that has shut down Oakland’s Darren McFadden and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson. The Chargers have yielded only 83 yards in two games. Spikes will make his 203rd NFL start.
Falcons MLB Akeem Dent vs. Chargers RB Ryan Mathews: Dent has played only 12 snaps this season as the Falcons have leaned heavily on their nickel defense that uses five defensive backs and two linebackers. Dent will see a lot of action against the Chargers’ rushing attack because the Falcons are set to use their base defense more often. Mathews, who is returning from a broken clavicle, was cleared for contact last week, but didn’t play in the 38-10 rout of Tennessee. Mathews played for Falcons offensive line coach Pat Hill at Fresno State. He has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in two seasons in the NFL. He rushed for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games last season.
Falcons FS Thomas DeCoud vs. Chargers QB Philip Rivers: The Falcons face another elite quarterback in Rivers, who’s completed 48 of 65 passes for 515 yards (73.8 percent) for four touchdowns and one interception. He has a passer rating of 110.7. DeCoud will have some deep coverage and some ballhawking duties as they try to successfully disguise their coverages for a second consecutive game. “He’s just a very savvy quarterback,” DeCoud said. “He knows his system inside and out. He’s been with Norv [Turner] for five or six years. It’s just second nature to him now. You can see it in the way he delivers the ball and in the chemistry that has with his receivers.”
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