6. The Reality Is, Atlanta’s defense is bad and their offense might be worse.
According to Pro Football Reference, Atlanta boasts one of only two defenses in the league off to a worse start than Washington’s. While their combined stats are relatively similar, the glaring weakness in Atlanta’s defense is their inability to stop the run. Giving up over 4.5 yards per carry so far this season, they seem unable provide much resistance to opposing runners. This bodes well for Washington, who has been effective in their running game in the few spots where they’ve stuck to it so far this season. Antonio Gibson continues to impress with his relatively limited touches and should be particularly effective against a team that doesn’t have a dynamic back end to their defense.
And in spite of some impressive offensive weapons like Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts, Matt Ryan and company have struggled to execute Arthur Smith’s new offensive scheme through the first three weeks of the season. This is a bad football team that only Washington’s shaky start has anyone hesitating to pick the Football Team to beat.
Prediction: Washington will look to slow the game down by attacking Atlanta’s poor rush defense. Look for 20+ carries from Antonio Gibson on Sunday as Washington actually competes in the time of possession category this game. And if the defense doesn’t rebound significantly, get ready for a shake-up on the coaching staff, as the pressure will be at fever pitch.