Here's a look at how Georgia and Alabama stack up against one another.
Georgia offense vs. Alabama defense
Georgia’s rushing offense has been outstanding through four games, averaging 257.8 yards per carry. However, it’s going against arguably the best rush defense in the country in Alabama. The Crimson Tide are surrendering under two yards per carry, which makes this the toughest challenge the Bulldogs are likely to have this year when it comes to the run. The game could fall on Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert’s shoulders if the offense is to find balanced success. In addition, the Bulldogs may look to get the ball in Sony Michel’s hands more than they have during the first four games due to his explosiveness in space and the open field. Alabama’s secondary can be attacked, evidenced by Mississippi’s Chad Kelly going off for 341 yards and three touchdowns (granted 73 of those yards and one of the scores came on a fluke play). Both the Georgia offense and Alabama defense appear evenly matched this week and should provide some tough one-on-one battles.
Alabama offense vs. Georgia defense
Much like Georgia, Alabama’s strength is running the ball with Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Henry already has eight rushing touchdowns this season and Drake is someone, much like Michel, who is dangerous with the ball in space. Left tackle Cam Robinson and outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins should have plenty of tough matchups during the game. Jenkins has been the fourth man on the defensive line when Georgia’s gone to its 4-2-5 defensive front, so he figures to rush the quarterback at times with his hand in the dirt. Alabama will need to get better production out of quarterback Jake Coker this week. While Coker had some positive moments against Ole Miss two weeks ago, he made way too many mistakes that cost his team. He’s been erratic at times and the rainy conditions could make things even more difficult for him. However, a solid running game that’s moved the ball against everyone could make things easier for Coker.
Georgia special teams vs. Alabama special teams
The Bulldogs have been spotty on special teams through four games, although each week has been a different area. Against Vanderbilt, it was failing to block on the pooch-kick. Against South Carolina, it was kick coverage. A week ago against Southern, it was a punt by Collin Barber that only traveled 24 yards. Alabama’s special teams hasn’t been that great either. Of 14 teams, Drake is 10th in the SEC in kickoff return yards with an average of 18.9. Alabama kicker Adam Griffith is 3-of-7 on field goals and will have to kick in the rain. Entering this game, this area is a wash.
Georgia coaching vs. Alabama coaching
It’s hard to go against Nick Saban, given he’s won three national championships with Alabama and one with LSU. Saban and the coaching staff have done a great job over the years. Of course, Georgia’s Mark Richt is no slouch himself. He recorded a win against Saban in 2007 and lost badly to him 2008. In 2012, both coaches were a part of an evenly-played game that decided the SEC champion. However, what Richt has going for him is he has former Alabama staff members Jeremy Pruitt, Kevin Sherrer, Chris Sale and Mark Hocke on his side. We’ll call this a draw, also.
This game appears about as evenly matched as possible. Factors that could decide this game are the weather and home field advantage. With Lambert showing better precision than Coker this season, that’s a slight edge that goes Georgia’s way. Being at home helps the Bulldogs too.
Prediction: Georgia, 24, Alabama 21