Offense – Alabama
Even though Georgia’s offense is still coming to fruition, the Crimson Tide has the edge here. Veteran quarterback Mac Jones leads the offense with a ton of weapons, including running back Najee Harris alongside wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. The Crimson Tide also has another deep threat in sophomore wide receiver John Metchie II. Alabama also has a great offensive line that will give Georgia’s defensive front their toughest test of the season. The Crimson Tide offense hasn’t been stopped yet. So far this season, Alabama is averaging 560.3 yards of total offense per game and 8.7 yards per play. The Bulldogs offense still shows a lot of inconsistency but is improving as the season goes on. The Bulldogs are averaging 420 total yards per game and 5.3 yards per play.
Defense – Georgia
Even though Alabama has a talented defense, Georgia has the edge here; this in fact might be one of the best defenses in program history. The Bulldogs’ defense is stingy and very stout up front starting with guys like Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt. The Bulldogs also might have one of the best linebacking corps in the country, both on the interior and exterior. The Crimson Tide will challenge the Bulldogs over the top and through the air, so that will be where the game will be won. Don’t expect Georgia to shutdown the Crimson Tide’s offense all day, but do expect that they will wreak havoc throughout the day. Alabama ran the ball for over 300 yards against a weaker Ole Miss defense, so don’t expect that to happen against Georgia. The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 2 in total defense, No. 1 in rushing defense and No. 3 in team passing efficiency defense.
Specials Teams – Georgia
Georgia’s special teams are firing on all cylinders led by former Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran. Cochran’s unit has done an exceptional job on kickoffs, punt returns, PATs and field goals. In fact, that’s what was the difference in Georgia’s win in the season opener at Arkansas. Georgia punter Jake Camarda is having his best season thus far and they have found their kicker in Jack Podlesny. The Bulldogs are currently leading the country in net punting average and are ranked No. 4 in kickoff returns. Kearis Jackson has proven to be a valuable and talented punt returner while Kenny McIntosh is a threat on kickoffs. That showing continued in Georgia’s matchup against Auburn and Tennessee. Georgia will have to contain Jaylen Waddle though on kickoffs, but they haven’t allowed a credible run yet to opposing returners. Alabama sophomore placekicker Will Reichard is still getting used to the college game, but has been solid so far this season.
Coaching – Alabama
The Crimson Tide have the edge here because of Nick Saban, who has not lost to a former assistant coach. Both coaching staffs have talented candidates that are all too familiar with each other, but the Crimson Tide has had more success recently. Smart and Saban have a special relationship, but as of right now, the elder has the upper hand. Smart has been the closest former Saban assistant to almost dethrone him, but just quite hasn’t yet. Both teams have great offensive minds as well as two, young defensive minded coordinators. It will be an interesting matchup, but the game should come down to the wire.
Overall – Georgia
Even though both teams are elite, only one can come out on top, but that doesn’t mean whoever loses this game is out of the CFB Playoff race. As mentioned, Georgia’s defense won’t be able to stop the Crimson Tide’s offense all day. On the other hand, Georgia’s offense should be able to score on Alabama’s defense like Ole Miss did last Saturday. So, it will come down to which team can make the big stop towards the end of the game. This will be the toughest matchup of the season for both teams, and it might not be the last. Give the Bulldogs the edge here because of their elite defense and ability to move the ball down the field.