Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

5 things to know before today's Chargers at Falcons' kickoff

Here are 5 things to mull over before today's 4:05 p.m. kickoff between the Atlanta Falcons (4-2) and San Diego Chargers (2-4)  at the Georgia Dome.

PREVIEW STORY: Falcons' young defense had a huge upside

ON THE HOT SEAT:  Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett 

THE X-FACTORY:  Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell  

1. OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER: The Falcons lead the NFL in points scored and yards gained per play, and no team has produced as many plays of 30- and 40-plus yards.

2. COLLINS TO MAKE DEBUT: It’s not clear how many defensive snaps Jalen Collins will play in his season debut but coach Dan Quinn said he would take on an important special-teams role. With key special-teams player C.J. Goodwin out with an injury, Quinn said Collins will play as an outside “gunner” on the punt coverage team Sunday against the Chargers. The position requires sprinting down field as the ball is snapped and corralling the return man before he can find space to run.

3. RIVERS VS. COVER THREE: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, one of the NFL’s most prolific passers, has thrown for more than 4,000 yards eight times and has been to five Pro Bowls. He’s posted a 94-72 record and is 4-5 in the playoffs. Rivers, who played at N.C. State and was the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft by the New York Giants, has had a great deal of success going against the Falcons’ style of defense.

4. KEY MATCHUP: Chargers DE Joey Bosa vs. Falcons LT Jake Matthews: Bosa, the third player taken in this year’s draft, has played strong in his first two NFL games. Bosa is rounding into form after his long holdout. The Chargers will stand Bosa up and rush him as a linebacker. Matthews is having a solid season and turned in a strong showing against Seattle’s Michael Bennett last week

5. SERIES RECORD: This will be the 10th regular-season meeting between the Chargers and the Falcons. The Falcons lead the series 8-1. The Falcons won the last meeting 27-3 on Sept. 23, 2012 in San Deigo. The Falcons won the last meeting in Atlanta, 21-20, on Oct. 17, 2004. 

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.