LIVE: Falcons hope to avoid hangover from Saints loss

Matt Ryan is hoping for better results when he hands off to Michael Turner today. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan is hoping for better results when he hands off to Michael Turner today. (AP photo)

Hello. Sorry, but I’m a little rushed today. I just posted a new column on Dawgmania in the BCS, following losses by Kansas State and Oregon late Saturday night. Now it’s time to switch gears to the pro team.

The Falcons play host to Arizona today. This is kind of a big game. I know that sounds strange for an 8-1 team with a three-game lead in the NFC South, but consider the circumstances.

They are coming of their first loss of the season, an emotional defeat to rival New Orleans (31-27), a game in which they felt they should have won (largely because of six red zone possessions that resulted in only three touchdowns). A loss to Arizona wouldn’t devastate the team but it has the potential to make things uncomfortable in the NFC South, with three straight divisional games to follow (at Tampa; home against New Orleans; at Carolina).

The questions about the Falcons now are the same questions we knew before the season: Is their running game and their run defense good enough to compete for a title? The run defense played better in the second half at New Orleans after a miserable first half, but the absence of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (who will be out again today) continues to hurt the front seven.

The principles of the team’s short-yardage running game have taken a lot of heat, from the offensive line to Michael Turner. It will be interesting to see how effectively Atlanta can run against Arizona because the Cardinals are physical up front.

That said, this is a game the Falcons should win. They can score (NFL’s No. 6 team in offense, No. 8 in points) and Arizona can’t (No. 31 in offense and No. 31 in points). At least, that has been the case up until now.

One key injury note: wide receiver Julio Jones (right ankle) is playing today.

That’s it for now. The venting lines are open. Any new thoughts on the Falcons moving forward?

I’m here to serve . . .

By Jeff Schultz

Recent ramblings from the digital jukebox

Georgia’s new reality: From on the brink to BCS title possibility

Upsets launch Georgia into BCS title picture (updated game column)

Short takes: Murray wakes up the offense

Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets, Falcons and the lust triangles

Falcons’ flaws aren’t worse than any other NFL team

College hoop kings provide rare thrills for Atlanta

Falcons’ startling admission: Ray Edwards was a blunder

Will SEC get team to BCS championship (answer below) (with video)

Georgia wins SEC East, and looks like threat to Alabama

Richt is coaching through pain (because he fell off a swing … honest)

968 comments Add your comment

Greg

November 18th, 2012
12:40 pm

Yes, this loss will devestate the Falcons. Losing two straight is hard to overcome. The NFC South race isn’t over yet. Go Falcons!

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
12:47 pm

Enter your comments here

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
12:48 pm

Not worried about this game. Should be an easy win.

Rick Patel

November 18th, 2012
12:50 pm

Smart punters are taking the Cardinals+4.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
12:52 pm

Whats a bigger fad Gangnam Style or The Macarena?

Arno

November 18th, 2012
12:57 pm

Not taking down my Michael Turner refrigerator magnet just yet. Go Falcons!

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:00 pm

Jeff Schultz, Good luck today with this bunch!!!

Jeff Schultz

November 18th, 2012
1:01 pm

Very cool. The Falcons had a soldier sing the national anthem live via satellite from Afghanistan. He was on video boards.

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:03 pm

Better be worried….

No game is easy for us normally. This one won’t be either.

Jeff Schultz

November 18th, 2012
1:04 pm

Oh Roddy. . . .

80sFalcon

November 18th, 2012
1:04 pm

Not the best start

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:04 pm

Not watching the game as i’m in sunny and warm St. Thomas….

Please feed me the action someone. They’re showing GB and Detroit here…..booooooo!

FalconFan

November 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

Not the start we hoped for.

FalconFan

November 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

Roddy tipped a pass and it was intercepted.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

Not the best start….

Gee, what a surprise.

FalconFan

November 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

Cardinals score

Jeff Schultz

November 18th, 2012
1:06 pm

That was fast. That 7 points — on Roddy.

80sFalcon

November 18th, 2012
1:06 pm

Samuels got punked!

Roger

November 18th, 2012
1:06 pm

Not exactly the start we needed…dang,

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

Touchdown Cardinals, convert the Ryan INT off the Roddy tipped pass into 6 points… (for phil)

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

Surely no one thinks this will be easy today?

We may be 8-1 but we simply are not that good.

Mr C

November 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

Run the ball, Stop the run. If u can’t do either, can’t go far

Bone

November 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

Nice start Clowns!

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

Have you considered a broadcast career JSS?

Greg

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

Falcons aren’t great. It shows. Need a tougher team.

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

Thx, JSS…..

Booooooooooo!

morn

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

Samuel looked like dieon on that attempted tackle, half butted way to play the game.

Bone

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

Agree…Falcons aren’t that good. Playing much better team second half of season.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

And they still can’t stop anybodies run game!

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

We suck Phil. Worst team ever. We need to vacate our playoff spot for someone more deserving. We are the Worst team in the the history of the NFL.

ijonathan

November 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

JS, dome sounded dead, even before the pic…true?

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

Better internet connection 1,700 miles from home….go figure.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

Get it… “anybodies”

Dumbo

November 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

Can you say RUT ROH

egr

November 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

the pass was a bit behind him

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

Wow, Turner left, one yard

Jeff Schultz

November 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

Another drop. What the hell?

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

atlfalconsfan0125
November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

We suck Phil. Worst team ever. We need to vacate our playoff spot for someone more deserving. We are the Worst team in the the history of the NFL.

***********
nope. But we aren’t nearly what some of you blind homers think we are. It’s showing more each week.

80sFalcon

November 18th, 2012
1:11 pm

Sit his FaT A$$ down.

Jeff Schultz

November 18th, 2012
1:11 pm

Maybe the Falcons weren’t aware it was a 1 p.m. kickoff.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:11 pm

They got the Falcons figured out! (For now)

80sFalcon

November 18th, 2012
1:11 pm

So far we are not ready to play!!

stizz

November 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Get Turner off the field ASAP.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Phil, you dont know me. Don’t call me a blind homer.

FalconFan

November 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Be nice Phil, or we won’t let you know what’s going on.

J.J.M.

November 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Use turner as a guard or towel boy

Guido

November 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Michael Turner= worthless.

DawgNole

November 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Can’t believe the announcers are taken aback by the tomb-like atmosphere created by our “home” crowd. Forty-six years and counting. What do they expect?

phil

November 18th, 2012
1:13 pm

Name the home game this season that was easy?

Exactly….