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Mailbag: Advantages/Disadvantages vs. Atlanta?


What is one advantage you see the Cowboys have over Atlanta, and what is one disadvantage you see Atlanta have over the Cowboys? The Falcons are a tricky team -- they don't always play up to their talent level but can hang with anyone in the league. — TANNER CARLSON / SAN ANTONIO, TX

David: I think you hit the nail on the head. Atlanta has been below .500 the last two seasons, but they obviously have a dizzying amount of talent on offense. Forgive me for being obvious, but my guess is that the winner of this game will be the defense that does a better job against the opposing passing attack. These are two of the best receiver corps in the league – and two of the least impressive secondaries. The group that can get a takeaway or force a field goal might make the difference.

Jonny: Russell Wilson didn't need all that much time to get in a groove, and ultimately he had his way with the Falcons defense. Dak is a similarly talented QB and he's more than able to spread the ball around to different receivers before breaking Atlanta with a couple huge plays. But I also didn't quite see enough from the Dallas secondary to suggest that Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will have much trouble racking up receiving yards.

OK guys, what are your thoughts on the Rams possibly providing the blueprint to keeping our defense off track with all these screens and quick passes? I'm thinking we see a repeat with Atlanta doing the same thing to neutralize our pass rushers until They can show their all on the same page and attack those plays. — GARY TAYLOIR / CHEYENNE, WY

David: Absolutely, it's a concern. The Cowboys played better defense as the game went along, but they obviously struggled with tackling and misdirection. I fully expect the Falcons to incorporate some of that into their game plan, and it's on the front seven to handle it better so they can force them into different concepts.

Jonny: The Rams are pretty unique in that they have a much larger array of possible screen passes and short routes. They might seem repetitive, but they catch defenses off guard. And to be fair, the Cowboys did a decent job of protecting against the big play. Of course any team can run screen passes, and maybe the Cowboys could be vulnerable, but you can't just replicate the Rams offense. They're going to do what they did to the Cowboys to quite a few other teams this season.

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