ATL News / Sports

Falcons should expect their most physical test from Patriots

The Falcons Week 11 opponent are winners of four straight, including most recently, a dominating performance against the Browns. Atlanta is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Cowboys in which not much of anything was working. Arthur Smith hails from an offensive line background, so he prides himself on physicality and toughness, two things the Falcons have lacked to a certain degree. Well, the Patriots are the exact opposite; New England plays with another level of physicality, and the Falcons head coach (among others) is aware of that.

It’s reasonable to say that the central belief around the league is the Patriots are one the most physical teams in the league, but it comes down to so much more than that. Bill Belichick is so detail-oriented that he demands his players do the minute things correctly. If your players know exactly what their jobs are, they can play faster and freer, equating to a more physical style of play.

The two team’s offensive and defensive lines couldn’t be more different. Atlanta’s offensive line struggles to generate any push at the line of scrimmage in the run game, while the New England offensive line generates as much push as any group in the league. The Patriots defense is fast, disciplined, and creative in defending opposing offenses; Dean Pees’ unit couldn’t be more porous.

Belichick runs as much Cover 1 man as any coordinator in the league, and they’re damn good at it. Playing man under one deep safety isn’t just matching man-to-man; defensive backs have to communicate effectively, play the proper leverage, know where their help is, and use overall sound technique. The Patriots do it better than anyone.

The Patriots play physically not only in the trenches but also on the boundary, exactly where the Falcons struggled last week against Dallas. Atlanta’s receivers couldn’t create any kind of separation against Dan Quinn’s defense, and it could be something to look for Thursday. This will be one of the toughest tests for the Falcons to date.

Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

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