Steelers vs. Falcons: Five Questions with the Enemy

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Sep 18, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) walks off of the field after their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 56-14. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Each week as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for their matchup we will go behind enemy lines to get the scoop on the team they’re facing with a member of the FanSided Network. Today we have Harrison Nayler, of Blogging Dirty, giving us the scoop on the Atlanta Falcons. He discusses the status of Julio Jones, the confidence levels in Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the team. He also gives us his prediction with score for the game.

The biggest question for Steelers fans would be to know if we won’t have to worry about the Steelers secondary giving up another 200+ receiving yards this week to a top receiver like Julio Jones. But, from a Falcons fan’s perspective, what’s the biggest worry going forward towards the playoff stretch if Jones misses some time?

The biggest concern if Julio Jones misses time would be the probably be the lack of top end talent in the receiving corps. Julio leads the league in receiving yards, so obviously replacing his production won’t be easy, but as a team built on a 1A/1B system in years prior, Julio missing short bursts of time haven’t been too difficult to navigate. That said, Roddy White is getting up there in years, and looks a lot slower for several nagging injuries this year. Harry Douglas has stepped in well in the past, but the talent gap between he and Jones is evident. The biggest concern is the lack of production from the tight end position, where the serious downgrade from Hall of Fame certainty Tony Gonzalez to Levine Toilolo is enormous. The emergence of Devin Hester as a receiver has been a welcome addition, but the lack of elite talent in the group should Jones miss will be the main concern.