Know Your Foe: Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons

CHARLOTTE - The city of Atlanta is buzzing this week. The Braves are back in the World Series for the first time since 1999.

So really, it's Marietta that's buzzing. But we digress.

The Falcons are back at .500, just in time for a visit from Carolina.

After starting 0-2, Atlanta has won three of the last four games and is now in third place in the NFC South. Granted, those wins have come against the Giants, Jets and Dolphins, but Atlanta is still getting it done thanks to solid play from our old pal…

Matt Ryan

MATTY ICE

At age 36, Matt Ryan doesn't get the same comparisons to Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, thanks largely to the relative success of those other old quarterback's teams, both this year and over the course of the last decade.

But since Week 3, Ryan has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 301.0 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and just one interception. His passer rating of 107.0 is actually 0.8 higher than Brady over the last month.

Over the last five weeks, only four QBs have a TD/INT ratio at 10 or over: Brady, Rodgers, Justin Herbert and Ryan.

Ryan is now 10th all-time with 359 career passing TDs, trailing Eli Manning by seven. He's eighth all-time in passing yards (57,435), closing in on Dan Marino.

Kyle Pitts

PITTS' EMERGENCE

So much was made of tight end Kyle Pitts entering last spring's Draft that his first month in the NFL seemed like a bust.

Pitts averaged just 47.2 receiving yards per game and had a catch percentage of just 57.7 through four games.

Then he came alive in London.

Pitts had nine receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta's win over the Jets in Week 5. Last Sunday, he had seven catches for 163 yards against the Dolphins. On the season, his 471 receiving yards trails only Ja'Marr Chase among NFL rookies.

CORDARELLE EVERYWHERE

Rock Hill's Cordarelle Patterson has flummoxed fantasy league managers for years due to his positionless game.

He's taken the whole wide receiver-playing-running back to a whole other level in Atlanta. The Falcons just dispensed with the back and forth and have him listed as a running back everywhere, even though a side-by-side with him and Mike Davis wouldn't compel one to believe they played the same position.

Patterson has 14 carries in each of the last two games, averaging nearly 4.0 yards per rush, while hauling in four TDs and 10 receiving yards per reception on the season.

Deion Jones

PASS RUSH

The Falcons have only managed 10.0 sacks on the season, ranking 30th in the NFL. According to ESPN, the team's pass rush win rate of 37 percent ranks 26th.

Atlanta is a bit better against the run with a run stop win rate of 29 percent (24th), allowing 112.2 rushing yards per game.

Foye Oluokun (61) and Deion Jones (58) currently lead the team in tackles as Jones has seven tackles for loss.

Carolina is 19-33 all-time against Atlanta.

Advertising