Atlanta Falcon defensive end John Abraham will be more than happy to have a reunion party with The Patriots this week. In six seasons on the New York Jets defensive line, Abraham feasted on the Patriots passers. Abraham's 10 sacks vs the Patriots is his best against any opponent.
Stopping him will be a tall order for the Patriots on Sunday. Abraham is thriving in the Falcon's defense, turning in yet another key play last week against another AFC East rival - the Dolphins.
"I was trying to make sure that Chad still had the ball," Abraham Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I hit him and made sure he had the ball. It was a sack, so I was happy about that."
Abraham finished with 3 tackles and a pair of sacks as the Falcons trounced the Dolphins 19-7 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated.
Patriots left tackle Matt Light is in the unenviable position of trying to avoid the embarrassing moment Long suffered. Light has seen his far share of talented pass rushers in the first two weeks with Buffalo's Aaron Schobel (INT for a TD) and New York's Marques Douglas and Shawn Ellis.
If the Patriots tackles are going to keep Abraham from padding his New England sack total, they're going to need some help from the tight ends.
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez knows blocking Abraham won't be easy for the Patriots, whomever draws the assignment.
"I remember when he was out there with the Jets, and I was trying to block him," Gonzalez said. "It is one of the most difficult things to do. He's such a good combination of strength and quickness. He definitely presents a mismatch for almost anybody he's going against."
Abraham is joined by another former first round pick at the other end, Jamaal Anderson, and reserve end Kroy Biermann. Biermann is tied with Abraham for the team lead in sacks (2), and has also forced a fumble.
Patriots QB tom Brady knows what Abraham can do in the Falcon's pass rush. If he thought the Jets game was tough, he knows things aren't going to get easier this week.
"They just line up with 11 guys who are all tough, who are all fast. And they usually rush. And they usually get there," said Brady. "John Abraham and [Kroy] Biermann, they are both great pass-rushers. They've got a very good defensive line, with athletic linebackers. We've got to get rid of the ball fast this week because they're coming."
Brady wasn't sacked last week against the Jets but he was harried all day. The pressure forced poor throws and missed opportunities. The Jets used the blitz extensively last week, while the Falcons didn't need to.
"If you blitz, you give up some other things. If you commit an extra guy to pressure, then there's one less guy in coverage," said Brady. "But we're expecting the blitz. This last game, I thought we performed. We didn't obviously win the game, but there were no sacks. Of course, they hit me a few times, but they always do. It's just about completing more passes and getting the ball to the guys who can do something with it."
The Falcons are riding a two game winning streak. They haven't played the Patriots since 2005 and have never played in Gillette Stadium.
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