PFF Preview: Falcons @ Vikings, Week 4
Teddy Bridgewater’s time has come sooner than expected for the Minnesota Vikings as starting quarterback Matt Cassel was put on the season ending Injured Reserve list. Bridgewater will lead the Vikings (1-2) in his first NFL start at home against the Atlanta Falcons (2-1) at TCF Stadium this week.
Bridgewater replaced Cassel in last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints and performed well considering the circumstances. On the 11 drop-backs where Bridgewater was under pressure, he completed four of six passes for 54 yards and ran three times. He also performed well when blitzed (+1.1), by going 6-of-9 for 70 yards without taking a sack.
The Falcons are coming off a few extra days rest after they won in a landslide victory against Tampa Bay last Thursday Night where their defense shut down both Buccaneer quarterbacks by bringing pressure. On the five drop-backs Josh McCown was under pressure he was sacked once and threw an interception, while completing only one pass for 5 yards. When Mike Glennon came in, the Falcons only blitzed on three of his 27 drop-backs, but still put pressure on him 11 times and recorded two sacks.
Here are a few more numbers for each team going into this match-up:
John Sullivan – Sullivan has been a cornerstone for the Vikings’ offensive line since his breakout season in 2011 when he was the league’s third-best center (+25.7). In 2012, he was the leagues top center (+30.3), and was third best again last year (+20.1). His +2.6 grade in pass blocking this year is already higher than all of his full season grades in the category during his career.
Harrison Smith – after an injury plagued 2013, Smith has returned to his rookie form boasting a +5.8 overall grade through three games, which places him as the third best safety in the league. Smith has missed only one tackle in the 200 snaps he has played.
Anthony Barr – Barr has impressed in his run defense and pass rushing abilities with a +2.9 and +1.4 in the categories, respectively. He has struggled in pass coverage the last two games against Tom Brady and Drew Brees lead teams, however.
Julio Jones – Jones leads the league in our Wide Receiver Rating (shows the QB rating when a receiver is thrown at) with a 140.8. Jones also has brought in all 23 of the catchable balls thrown his way, which leads the league. On deep passes (20 or more yards downfield), Jones leads the league in receptions, and catch rate.
Robert Alford – After a rocky start, Alford had the best single-game grade of his career (+4.3) last week, and is currently rated the seventh best cornerback in the league.
Justin Blalock – The Falcons left guard has an overall grade of +3.4 and a +1.9 run block grade, which ranks him as the fourth left guard in the league in both categories.
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