Opposing View: D. Orlando Ledbetter on the Lions-Falcons matchup

Posted Dec 22, 2012

This week’s opposing view comes from Falcons beat writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution D. Orlando Ledbetter. He’s a three-time APSE award winning sportswriter and has covered the NFL for 14.

1. Has QB Matt Ryan reached elite status in this league?

His regular seasons are elite! All that is left is for him to have some success in the playoffs. He’s grown immensely as a leader and as a football player in his five years in Atlanta. The franchise is enjoying some unparalleled success given its history failures.

2. If there's one weakness on the 12-2 Falcons team that might have some people worried, as the playoffs loom closer, what is it?

The run game has not been very productive. That could be problematic if they have a lead and can’t run out the clock.

3. The Falcons gave up a lot in the 2011 NFL Draft to get Julio Jones. Is that acquisition what's helped put them among the NFCs elite?

Yes, he has made the offense more dynamic. He has provided the deep threat that was missing.

4. Megatron is Megatron, but do the Falcons fear any of the other Lions receiving threats right now?

I don’t believe they do. Broyles is going to be a good player if he can make it back. Kris Durham is a good kid. It’s good do to see him getting a shot. Folks know him from his days at Georgia with Stafford.

5. This game got chippy between the two in last year's matchup. Do the Falcons hold any residual hard feeling toward Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril or this Lions team in general?

They lost a lot of respect for Suh and Avril for their antics when Ryan was down. They believe they heard them calling for a cart to scrap him off the field. (Suh and Avril both deny those claims). Several of them have confirmed that. The Falcons know Suh and Avril are good players, but probably don’t want to have them over for cookies and milk.