The best football teams find chinks in their opponent's armor and continually exploit those weaknesses. While Alabama has one of the best offenses in college, they have apparent weaknesses.
The Crimson Tide offensive line leaves much to be desired in pass protection and has gotten worse as of late. Alabama allowed seven sacks against a 6-6 Auburn team and struggled to generate offense for most of the contest, being held scoreless for 59 minutes.
Quarterback Bryce Young has played well for the entire season, especially factoring in that this is his first year of starting action. However, the offensive line deficiencies have proved insurmountable at times this year, even for a moving talent like Young.
Alabama struggles to run the ball against any opponent but typically finds ways to win through the air. Auburn laid out the blueprint for Georgia to use this weekend.
In theory, it sounds simple, but theory and application are two different matters. Every team is trying to get after the quarterback, but few have the resources and determination that this Georgia team possesses.
The Bulldogs have arguably the top defensive line in the country. Whether it is the stifling play of defensive tackle Jordan Davis or the collection of star talent off the edge, Georgia finds a way to make life hard on quarterbacks.
Many factors should play a hand in this contest, but it is hard to imagine either team running away with this game as Alabama did a year ago in the second half. Georgia is currently a touchdown favorite, and rightfully so, as Georgia looks like the better team, but don't allow those facts to distort reality: Alabama will come to play.
One mismatch can drastically swing the momentum of a game and force teams to adjust. Unfortunately for Alabama, they have proven there is no alternative. Their run game has been stagnant all year, depending on Young and the passing game. They are down to one scholarship running back.
So far, Alabama has come away relatively unscathed. There were a few bumps along the road, including an eye-opening loss to Texas A&M in College Station, but their poor offensive line pass sets haven't hurt them in significant ways.
The difference this time around is that Georgia has the personnel to exploit this weakness. Georgia fields four defensive linemen projected to become draft picks this off-season. In addition, a sophomore defensive tackle, Jalen Carter, looks to be a potential first-round pick when he declares for the NFL Draft.
Georgia's offense matches up well with Alabama's defense, and the skill groups on both sides of the ball are relatively even. Meaning the only gaping mismatch of the contest, which gives Georgia a clear advantage, looks to be Georgia's defensive front.
Georgia excels at finding ways to get pressure with four rushers, not just with the normal four-down lineman; Dan Lanning and co have shown creative blitzes to make things unpredictable.
On paper, Georgia looks to have a massive advantage in the trenches versus Alabama for arguably the first time under Kirby Smart. However, in years past, it's been Georgia's offensive line that's held an advantage, while the defensive line was able to get by against Alabama's front.
2021 looks to be the complete opposite as many could argue that Georgia's forty-one team sacks defensively, and an offensive line that's given up just eight sacks all year, holds an edge versus the Tide.
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