1) Right now Atlanta has one of the best offenses in the NFL. How would you try to stop them?
The key to stopping Atlanta lies in doing three things: Slowing down Julio Jones, effectively stopping the ground game, and putting pressure on Matt Ryan. Seattle was able to do all three of those things during the first half of last Sunday's game, which enabled them to hold this high-powered offense to just three points. The problem, of course, is that it's virtually impossible to do that for four quarters, but building up a good lead and clamping down hard in the first part of the game is still worthwhile.
If you can shut down Julio and contain Coleman and Freeman on the ground, you will always have a fighting chance against Atlanta. If you have to prioritize one over the other, I think you have to attempt to shut down the run.
2) Will either Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman become the true primary running back for the Falcons without an injury forcing the coaching staff's hand or are they happy with the committee approach?
I think Kyle Shanahan and his staff are very happy to rotate these guys. Freeman is the better runner at this stage of their respective careers, with terrific power, burst, and vision, but Coleman's speed and ability to make defenders miss has been invaluable. They're a great complement to one another, and Coleman is so useful in the passing game that neither is likely to be phased out of the gameplan unless they're injured. Knock on wood, there.
3) How close is Vic Beasley to becoming the dominant player many of us envisioned him being when he was drafted?
I think he's closer than most realize. Beasley's already a pleasant surprise as a run defender, and even though he hasn't gotten many sacks outside of that 3.5 takedown effort against Denver, he's been close a number of times and has gotten genuine pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If he's able to make a handful of adjustments to get him to the quarterback a bit faster and clean up a spin move that never seems to do a ton for him, he should be great. I think he'll truly arrive in 2017.
4) If you were facing the Falcons' defense, how would you attack them?
I would use Hunter Henry. The Falcons have Keanu Neal available to help out with coverage, and he's shown an impressive ability to hold tight ends in check for a rookie safety. Even so, Henry has been successful, the Falcons have still struggled to shut down opposing tight ends, and Henry looks genuinely dangerous. I think Rivers can target him frequently, particularly when Neal is not on him, and find quite a bit of success there.
Otherwise, I'd make a point of keeping things balanced. Teams haven't had a ton of success running against Atlanta, but it does help to wear down the front, and Derrick Shelby is now out for the season.
5) With the Falcons out to such a great start to the season, how high are your expectations? Is this a Super Bowl contender?
I'm hesitant to say they're a Super Bowl contender with their defense, but it's undeniable that there just aren't a lot of great teams in the NFL right now, so this Falcons team has to be viewed as a legitimate contender. I've got them winning the NFC South at this point and winning at least one playoff game, but I do believe they'll ultimately fall short of a Lombardi.