With the Eagles identifying this as a must-win, the Falcons are prepared for an intense opponent. So much has been made about the Eagles' resolve, the undefeated Falcons are actually a 2 1/2 point underdog to the 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles.
But that resolve will be tested by an unusual source: the Atlanta Falcons' secondary.
With noted exceptions like Troy Polamalu and Brian Dawkins, bone crushing hits are usually reserved for linebackers and defensive lineman.
On the contrary, the 2012 Atlanta Falcons' secondary has routinely delivered big hits in big situations. With the Eagles' overwhelming speed, the Falcons' secondary might have to test the Eagles' ability to hold on to the ball. With the Eagles already having 10 fumbles in 6 games, this might be Atlanta's best chance to keep points off the board.
Dunta Robinson already being watched
Atlanta Falcons' cornerback, Dunta Robinson, has racked up $90,000 in fines in the last two meetings between the Eagles and Falcons.
In 2010, Robinson was fined $50,000 for leading with his helmet in a collision with Eagles' wide receiver DeSean Jackson. That did not slow Robinson's aggressive style when the Falcons faced the Eagles in 2011. Last year, Robinson garnered a $40,000 fine for leading with his helmet when hitting the Eagle's Jeremy Maclin.
After the Maclin hit, the NFL warned of "escalating fines" and suspension. Robinson, who is usually not known as a dirty player, seems to be unaffected while on the field. In fact, Robinson has played even more aggressively in 2012. He may only have one forced fumble in 2012, but several hard hits have resulted in dropped passes.
Samuel will surprise old team
There are certain things that do not show up on a stat sheet, and tenacity is one of those. Cornerback Asante Samuel's skill has rarely been questioned, but his affinity for tackling has since he was with the New England Patriots. His short time in Atlanta says otherwise.
Samuel is currently sixth on the team with 22 solo tackles, and a fear of contact does not seem to be an issue. This will be key against a fast offense like Philadelphia. The Falcons might have fortune on their side, as Asante Samuel knows this better than anyone else on the squad.
Secondary proven contributors
The much-maligned Falcons' secondary has been a steady contributor early in the 2012 season. The starters have accounted for 1.5 sacks, four tackles for a loss, and forced two fumbles. This does not count the times corner blitzes have disrupted plays in the backfield.
The Atlanta Falcons will definitely need all 11 players on defense to attack the ball when they face the elusive runners on Philadelphia's offense. And if the first six games mean anything, then the Falcons will have just that.