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Why the Chargers Will Lose: Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones #11 and Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate Jones' touchdown.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Julio Jones #11 and Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate Jones' touchdown. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Welcome to 'Why the Chargers Will Lose', a weekly feature where we tell you why the San Diego Chargers might lose to their upcoming opponent.

Julio Jones

I've watched both of Jones' games this year, his second season (and first with a real training camp), and can tell you that Charger fans should be terrified of this guy. Against the Chiefs, Jones caught 6 passes for 108 yards and 2 TDs, and he made it look really easy.

I know, you're wondering what happened in that Broncos game where he caught just 4 passes for 14 yards. Denver must have figured out how to cover him, right? Nope. Wrong. Jones was getting open with the same frequency he always does (in his last 4 games of 2011, he had 20 catches for 393 yards and 6 TDs), but someone must've slathered his hands with butter before the game. He simply couldn't hold onto the ball, which is not normal for him. I would not expect the same thing to happen this week.

To keep Jones from going insane, the Chargers will need to dedicate a Safety to his side of the field (probably Eric Weddle, who is better in coverage). That'd be an easy fix if he were the only dangerous weapon on the Falcons offense.

Roddy White

Did anybody else realize that Roddy White has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons? That's incredible! Randy Moss never made four consecutive Pro Bowls. Vincent Jackson, who was drafted the same year was Roddy, has only made two Pro Bowls. Actually, let's look at that draft class of WRs for a second because it's laughably bad:

1st Round:

  • Braylon Edwards
  • Troy Williamson
  • Mike Williams (the one from USC, not the one on Tampa Bay)
  • Matt Jones
  • Mark Clayton
  • Roddy White
2nd Round:
  • Reggie Brown
  • Mark Bradley
  • Roscoe Parrish
  • Terrence Murphy
  • Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson wasn't just the 11th WR taken in the 2005 NFL Draft, he was 11th behind a whole bunch of guys that are pretty much our of the league 7 years later and Roddy White. Yeah, keep saying that A.J. Smith is bad at drafting.

Aaaaaaanyway, where were we? Oh yeah. Despite Jackson's price tag, it's hard to argue that Roddy White isn't the best WR from that draft class. The guy is really, really good. This year, with Jones on the other side of the field, White is putting up more Pro Bowl numbers. Through two games, he has 14 catches for 189 yards and 1 TD. Those numbers would make him the best WR on the Chargers this year, in case you need more comparisons.

Now, think of how the Bolts are going to cover Roddy White on Sunday, with Eric Weddle busy covering Julio Jones. Start praying for a great game from the one-handed Quentin Jammer, people.

Matt Ryan

It's time to start believing in Matt Ryan. The comparison I've made to pre-neck-injury Peyton Manning looks more real every week, and that Peyton Manning might be the greatest QB to ever play the game.

In his last four games of last season, Ryan threw 10 touchdowns against zero interceptions. He's kept up that pace this season, throwing 5 TDs and zero interceptions in his first two games. Did I also mention that he has fantastic mobility? It's led to him being sacked just twice in the first two games, despite a pretty pathetic looking offensive line in front of him.

Plain and simple, you can't gameplan against Matt Ryan right now. If you can stop Julio Jones deep, Roddy White can beat you either deep or underneath. If you can stop both of those guys, Tony Gonzalez is right there to pick up frustrating first down after frustrating first down with the underneath stuff. If you dedicate 2 high Safeties to stop the deep stuff and the LBs are able to stop Tony Gonzalez underneath, you might wake up the once-potent Falcons rushing attack.

There's nothing this team can't do with its personnel on offense, and Matt Ryan has finally become the QB that can be aggressive in using all of these weapons without making any mistakes. It's a scary thing to imagine going up against, if you're John Pagano.