Here are three key matchups to watch when the Falcons (1-1) face the Colts (1-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium:
Falcons DT Grady Jarrett vs. Colts G Quenton Nelson: This one is worth the price of admission. Jarrett, the former fifth-round pick, is off to a strong start. Nelson, who was as top-10 pick, went to the Pro Bowl and was named All-Pro as a rookie last season. “Oh yeah, that will be a great matchup,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “Two really great players. Quenton is a leader on this team. He plays really physical. He has the right mindset and even in just his second year he’s just become a (great) leader on our team.” When asked about Nelson, Jarrett elected to discuss the offensive line as a whole. “They’ve got a good group up front,” Jarrett said. “They have a lot of guys that are physical. They’ve got a style that they want to put on display. I think it will be fun.”
Falcons LBs vs. Colts RBs: Falcons linebackers DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones led the charge as they held the Eagles to 49 yards rushing after giving up 172 yards to Minnesota. Strong safety Keanu Neal also dropped down in the box and did some damage. The Colts use three running backs in Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Mack does the heavy lifting, while Wilkins came in an busted loose for a key 55-yard gain against the Titans. “They are going to run the ball,” Falcons defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson said. “They are going to want to pound it. They are going to want to control the clock and keep our offense off the field. They are going to want it to be a close game. It sets up that we’ve got to be ready to go stop the run and deal with those backs. They are all good players.”
Falcons CBs vs. Colts WRs: While the Colts lean on their rushing game, they have some talented wide receivers in T.Y Hilton, Deon Cain and the speedy Parris Campbell. The Falcons cornerbacks caught a break last week against the Eagles when Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson were injured. Desmond Trufant is off to a great start and had two interceptions against the Eagles. Rookie Isaiah Oliver is a strong tackler, but has had three penalties, a defensive pass interference and two defensive holding calls. “They are going to move (Hilton) around to feature him,” Henderson said. “He’s a really good productive player. He battles really hard.”
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