Michael Turner’s groin is fine, should play against Saints

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 19: Michael Turner  of the Atlanta Falcons walks to the locker room with trainers after injuring his groin against the Arizona Cardinals at Georgia Dome on September 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I don’t know why I didn’t realize this before, but I just re-read the headline to this piece and it hit me that part of my job is to write about other mens’ groins.

Mom must be proud.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith reiterated today what he confirmed yesterday following Atlanta’s 41-7 thrashing of the Cardinals: Michael Turner is fine and barring a setback, will play against the Saints this Sunday.

After rushing for 75 yards on nine carries in the first quarter against the Cardinals, Turner suffered a groin injury and wasn’t inserted back into the game. But he didn’t need to go back in, as the Falcons built a big lead thanks in part to Jason Snelling’s (24 carries, 129 yards, 3 total TDs) monster day. It would have been foolish had Turner gone back into a blowout and risk further injury.

With a trip to New Orleans coming up this Sunday, the Falcons will need a healthy “Burner.” The Saints’ biggest weakness defensively is arguably up the gut and with the way Atlanta ran the ball yesterday against Arizona, having the backfield duo of Turner and Snelling is vital. The key to beating the Saints is a) getting pressure on Drew Brees and b) keeping him and his offense off the field. The Falcons can accomplish one of those two goals with a healthy dose of Turner and Snelling.

That said, this is also a game that Matt Ryan needs to step up. He played extremely well in the win over the Cardinals (21-32, 225 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs), but he failed to make plays against the Steelers in Week 1. That’s not to say that he didn’t play well, he just didn’t play well enough. When Pittsburgh shut Atlanta’s running game down, Ryan couldn’t come up with that one play in the passing game to turn the momentum on its head. If he’s in a similar situation this Sunday, it’s time for “Matty Ice” to produce.

This will be a great test for a team that many consider to be a sleeper Super Bowl contender this season. If Turner is 100%, the Falcons certainly have enough weapons to go toe-to-toe with the most explosive offense in the NFC. The Saints and Falcons played two thrilling games last year (both NO victories), and their first meeting this season should be more of the same.

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