Know Your Enemy: Georgia vs. Alabama
This feels weird, doesn't it? Approaching a Georgia football game with Alabama believing the Bulldogs might be the outright better football team? What is this, 2003?
Somehow, the Bulldogs enter this week's matchup appearing to be the better football team. Alabama's defense is shoddy, and that's being kind. This is not the dominant Crimson Tide defense previously coached by Kirby Smart or Jeremy Pruitt.
Alabama hasn't allowed fewer than 19 points all season, and that was against Missouri's mediocre offense. Ole Miss hung 48 points on Alabama last week, racking up 647 yards of total offense in the process. That was a week after allowing 24 points and 450 yards to Texas A&M. The Tide are also vulnerable on offense.
That's not to say Alabama is devoid of talent on defense. They obviously feature superstars Dylan Moses, Patrick Surtain and Jordan Battle. But with Smart and Pruitt, bringing the "Alabama way" to their respective programs, the Tide no longer has a monopoly of elite defensive talent in the SEC, and they are feeling the effects.
Through three games, Alabama's defense is 11th in passing yards allowed (322.3 yards per game), ninth in rushing yards allowed (150.7), and 11th in total yards allowed (473). In comparison, Georgia leads in each of those categories by comfortable margins. Alabama's defense isn't even making up for its struggles by creating turnovers; the Tide average just 1.3 per game, 10th best in the SEC.
However, Georgia's offense is vastly different from Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs are more methodical, less chaotic. The Crimson Tide does field a young defense that wasn't accustomed to the Rebels' tempo. Perhaps this is a matchup that's more in Alabama's favor.
Offensively, Alabama isn't having any issues. Mac Jones already has passed for 1,101 yards with eight touchdowns and just one interception. Najee Harris has 423 total yards with 10 touchdowns and Alabama has three receivers with at least 298 yards. The Crimson Tide are near the top in every statistical category on offense.
It could be argued that Alabama's offense going against Georgia's defense is more intriguing than the game itself. There's little debate this is the matchup that should decide the outcome.
Alabama hasn't seen a defense like Georgia, but Georgia hasn't seen an offense like Alabama. Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith and John Metchie are the biggest test for the Bulldogs' secondary. Flipping the script, Eric Stokes, DJ Daniels, Tyson Campbell, Tyrique Stevenson, Mark Webb and Richard LeCounte provide the biggest challenge for Alabama's passing attack.
The ground game leans more towards the Bulldogs. Georgia's defensive line is legit. There's not one nit to pick when talking about the group. Harris and Brian Robinson are a fantastic running back duo, but rushing yards will be hard to come by. They need Waddle and Co. to stretch Georgia's defense.
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