The Falcons will face rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater Sunday as they face the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater will replace Matt Cassel, who broke bones in his foot last week against New Orleans.
Bridgewater came into the Vikings game last week against the Saints after Cassel was injured. He was 12-for-20 with 150 yards in the 11-point loss. He also had 27 rushing yards on six carries.
Atlanta will have to be very aggressive on defense, with Bridgewater having the ability to scramble out of the pocket. The Falcons had three sacks last week against Tampa Bay and must apply the same type of pressure on Bridgewater this week.
Minnesota will also be without running back Adrian Peterson, who is on the NFL’s exempt list. Matt Asiata will likely take over. This season Asiata has 81 yards rushing on 27 carries and nine catches for 41 yards.
It will be interesting to see how the Falcons defend Bridgewater. Will they allow Kroy Biermann to shadow Bridgewater or will they play Osi Umenyiora more in a pass rush situation?
The Falcons are 24th in the NFL in pass defense and 19th in the league in rush defense. Those are improved numbers from a year ago, but Mike Nolan’s unit still has room for significant improvement. With the Vikings throwing a rookie, backup quarterback and a backup running back out there this week, Atlanta’s defensive numbers should improve.
However, former Volunteer Cordarrelle Patterson is the player that might give Atlanta some trouble. Patterson leads the Vikings in rushing (95 yards on four carries) and receiving (143 yards on 11 catches) so far this season. The Atlanta secondary will be challenged by the second-year star from the University of Tennessee, particularly with a rookie quarterback and a backup running back starting for the Vikings.
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Falcons to face rookie Bridgewater on Sunday
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