What We Learned From Week 9 in the N.F.L.
There was no one thing that had defined Week 9
But there were a few developments to watch on the N.F.L. front last week.
In the first three games, the Falcons looked out of sync. Atlanta struggled with turnovers against the Cowboys, and trailed early on the Vikings in the season series. And it wasn’t just the giveaways that put the Falcons in deep trouble. For a while, they couldn’t run the ball. The Falcons also struggled with the quarterback play of Atlanta’s first three games, which had a detrimental effect on the offense.
The Falcons turned things around at New England on Sunday. After a miserable Week 3 (which was followed by a horrible performance at Carolina), the Falcons have looked like the team we expected. They came out the gate in the Saints’ half of the field in New Orleans, and moved the Falcons to third and set up a potential field goal that they converted. They got rolling in the second half, and went up 35-20 with a touchdown drive. And, after the win, Atlanta put the Saints on the scoreboard when De’Vondre Campbell’s long touchdown run took the Saints out of field goal range.
Then, the Falcons closed out in New England and turned the season series on their own head. Atlanta was leading the Patriots by 10 in the fourth quarter when they forced a two-possession drive in which they lost a fumble and scored. The Falcons are now 2-3 in road games after going 3-7 at home in their first 11 games, and they’ve won four of their next six.
The Falcons are now tied with the Bears and Packers for the lead in the NFC North. But if the Falcons continue to play with that same style of football that got them here, they’ll be a contender.
If you haven’t read Week 8, I highly recommend it. You’ll be shocked at how different this year’s team is than we saw in Week 8.
That said, let’s take a look at what we learned about the Falcons on Week 9.
The Eagles Have No Linebackers
The Philadelphia Eagles were 3-4-1 coming into Week 9. With the Falcons having a bye week on Thursday, the Eagles could have clinched