How The Atlanta Falcons Wide Receivers Match Up With The Dallas Cowboys Secondary
The Atlanta Falcons have one of the better passing attacks in the NFL, and they’re ready to put it to the test in Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Matt Ryan completed 34 of 57 passes for 450 yards passing in Week 1, while throwing for two touchdowns and one interception in Atlanta's loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Many of those yards came in garbage time, but Ryan has a history of piling up meaningful numbers as well.
Ryan and company will square off against a Cowboys secondary that gave up 275 yards passing against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams last week. When comparing Dallas' two opponents, the Falcons have the better passing offense, so on paper, they should have more success against the Cowboys.
Dallas has had injuries in their secondary to start the season. Last week, cornerback Jourdan Lewis was out with an injured ankle. He will be back against the Falcons, but starting corner Anthony Brown was placed on injured reserve on Saturday after hurting his rib against the Rams.
Rookie second-round pick Trevon Diggs and rising star Chidobe Awuzie, who intercepted Goff in Week 1, will play large roles on the outside against Atlanta.
Without Byron Jones, who left Dallas for the Miami Dolphins in free agency, the Cowboys don’t have a true lockdown corner. Jones played extremely well last year and without him, the Cowboys secondary has taken a step back.
It's possible Awuzie could draw shadow coverage against Julio Jones on Sunday, in which case Jones and Ryan would have a significant advantage.
Calvin Ridley should win his matchup as well, coming off a nine-catch, 130-yard performance against the Seahawks. Ridley is expected to have a huge year, and if he is going to take the next step in his development, he'll have to exploit matchups like the ones he will see on Sunday.
While Russell Gage had a career game in Week 1, Hayden Hurst could be Atlanta's X-factor if he can draw safety help away from Jones and Ridley.
If Atlanta can consistently create one-on-one opportunities for Jones and Ridley, it should be another prolific offensive game for the Falcons.