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02/09/2017

WATCHNorthwestern QB Clayton Thorson, if he can get some blocking from his offensive line, will determine whether the Wildcats bounce back from an 0-2 start

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Tim McCarver Jersey . -- The Atlanta Falcons are flying high, leading the NFL in a bunch of offensive categories.Now comes the real test.Can Matt Ryan & Co. keep it going against not one, but two of the NFLs top defenses?The Falcons (3-1) will be on the West Coast the next two weeks, facing the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos on Sunday, followed by the team that won it all during the 2013 season, the Seattle Seahawks.Both have made their mark on the defensive side of the line in recent years, and nothing much has changed this season.The Broncos and the Seahawks rank among the top five in fewest points and yards allowed, providing quite a challenge for a team that seems to be clicking on all cylinders.Were leading in a lot of the stats for offense, left tackle Jake Matthews said Wednesday. Its time for us to prove it and continue to do it every week.Its probably asking too much for the Falcons to keep up this pace. Led by Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, but working pretty much everyone into the mix, Atlanta has averaged 38 points and 478.8 yards per game over the first quarter of the season.No one else is even close to those staggering numbers.The Falcons lead in passing yards (354.3) and are sixth in rushing yards (124.5), showing the kind of balance that coach Dan Quinn knows is so important.Were making good decisions in both the run game and the pass game, the second-year coach said. Thats what makes going against us so challenging.After a season-opening loss to Tampa Bay, the Falcons ripped off three straight victories -- scoring more than 40 points the last two weeks against New Orleans and defending NFC champion Carolina.While Jones is having another dynamic season, highlighted by his 300-yard showing against the Panthers, Ryan is working the ball all over the field. Ten other players have at least two catches, and six players besides Jones have touchdown receptions.When you spread the ball around, keep everybody involved, keep a defense off-balance and make sure theyre guarding all five eligibles, Ryan said, it makes it tough on those guys.Coming off a bit of a disappointing season marked by a series of perplexing turnovers, Ryan is the top-rated quarterback in the league. Hes completed 72 percent of his passes for an NFL-leading 1,473 yards, and his 11 touchdown passes are tied with Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. More important, Matty Ice has only two interceptions.Clearly, hes more comfortable in Year 2 with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.Were both further along at this point than we were last year. Theres no question about that, Ryan said.He understands everybody we have in the building, too. Kyle has done a great job of utilizing guys skill sets, mixing and matching and putting guys in positions to succeed. Sometimes, that takes time, too.With teams focused on the dynamic passing game, the Falcons are able to do plenty of damage in the run game, as well. Devonta Freeman has rushed for 322 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry while teaming with Tevin Coleman (129 yards, four TDs) to provide quite a 1-2 punch.Theyve had a lot of explosive plays, Denver coach Gary Kubiak said. Theyve got a lot of guys making those plays.Coleman is something of a question mark because he carries the sickle cell trait, which could be exacerbated by Denvers high altitude. The second-year back intends to play but will be closely monitored.Just stay hydrated and keep on talking to the doctors during the game to see how I feel, Coleman said. Ive never been there, so I really dont know how my body is going to react to it.Freeman said hes ready to carry the load if Coleman is limited or cant play. The Falcons dont have another running back on the 53-man roster.Were not a one-dimensional team, Freeman said. That is whats going to make us so special.Game notes The Falcons are hopeful new LB A.J. Hawk will be able to suit up after being signed this week. The 32-year-old was hastily learning the defense after replacing Sean Weatherspoon, who went down with a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. ... The Falcons are really hurting at linebacker. Rookie starter DeVondre Campbell (ankle) and backup Paul Worrilow (groin) didnt play against the Panthers, and rookie starter Deion Jones (calf) went out during the game. None of them practiced Wednesday. ... P Matt Bosher (right hamstring) also missed practice. The team signed another punter, Michael Palardy, to the practice squad as insurance.---Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .---AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Mark McGwire Cardinals Jersey . -- Running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings were back at practice for the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday despite being hampered by hamstring injuries. Vince Coleman Cardinals Jersey . -- Charlie Graham stopped 67 shots as the Belleville Bulls edged the visiting Guelph Storm 6-5 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. http://www.baseballcardinalsauthority.com/Michael-Wacha-Jersey/ .05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal. The designation was released Monday after the deadline passed for NFL teams to use franchise or transition tags on players becoming free agents. Some things to watch in Week 3 in the Big Ten.GAME OF THE WEEKNo. 3 Ohio State travels to No. 14 Oklahoma for a matchup of teams expected to challenge for spots in the College Football Playoff and the two most storied teams in the history of the Top 25. The Buckeyes have averaged 62.5 points through two games, their defense has yet to allow a touchdown and the program has won a nation-leading 18 straight road games. Time to see what the young Buckeyes can do in a hostile environment. The once-beaten Sooners probably can afford no more losses if they want to play in a national semifinal for the second year in a row. In his seven home games, Baker Mayfield has completed 69 percent of his passes and thrown for 20 TDs against two interceptions. This time hell be going against the highest-ranked team to visit Norman since 2008.BEST MATCHUPThe Oregon offense against the Nebraska defense in a measuring-stick game for both teams. The Ducks offense has been extremely sharp, averaging 577 yards against overmatched opponents with new quarterback Dakota Prukop and running back Royce Freeman leading the way. Nebraskas defense appears greatly improved from 2015 with its veteran linebackers and a Nate Gerry-led secondary that intercepted five passes last week against Wyoming. If the defensive line can be disruptive, Prukop and the Ducks could be in for a tussle in Lincoln.INSIDE THE NUMBERSWinless Northwestern, which hosts Duke, hasnt started 0-3 since 1992. ...North Dakota State, which visits Iowa , has won five in a row against FBS opponents since 2010 and is 8-3 all-time against teams from the top tier. ... Penn State is 12-0-1 all-time at home against Temple. Ken Boyer Jersey. . The Nittany Lions last year lost for the first time in 40 meetings with the Owls. ... Rutgers, which hosts New Mexico, has outscored its first two opponents 27-0 in the fourth quarter and 48-14 in the second half. ... Illinois is averaging four sacks a game, and Carroll Phillips is tied for the FBS lead with 6.5 tackles for loss. ... Marylands Perry Hills enters his game at UCF completing a Big Ten-best 73 percent of his passes.LONG SHOTMichigan State visits Notre Dame for the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Game of the Century tie, and for the Spartans to win they must be much sharper than they were in a 28-13 season-opening victory over FCS Furman. The touchdown-underdog Spartans are coming off a rare early open date, and theres been an all-Irish, all-the-time focus for two weeks. QB Tyler OConnor shouldnt be fazed by the stage. He started in Ohio Stadium for an injured Connor Cook last year and beat the Buckeyes. OConnor gives the Spartans their best chance if he can take advantage of a vulnerable Notre Dame secondary.PLAYER TO WATCHNorthwestern QB Clayton Thorson, if he can get some blocking from his offensive line, will determine whether the Wildcats bounce back from an 0-2 start or see their season spin out of control. Thorsons late fumble cost the Wildcats in the opener Western Michigan, and he was just 17 of 41 in the embarrassing loss to FCS Illinois State. The onus on Thorson is even greater if star RB Justin Jackson is slow to come off his lower-body injury. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '