The Denver Broncos head into the Georgia Dome against an unfamiliar foe in the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. Overall, these teams have only hooked up for thirteen previous meetings since the 1970 merger. The Broncos hold a 9-4 edge with the last encounter in 2008 in which the Broncos won 24-20. It is safe to say, though, that these are two very different teams then the ones who met last, and most will say that these teams are exactly the same.
In order to prepare for this game, Head Coach John Fox and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio need to go no further than to look in the mirror at their own practices. Atlanta seems to be getting away from Michael Turner and the run game while showcasing a no-huddle offense that looked impressive against the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Matt Ryan was able to exploit the Chiefs secondary completing passes to six different receivers, while Julio Jones and Roddy White accounted for six catches a piece. So in order to prepare their defense, who better than to run a prolific no-huddle offense than Peyton Manning? The edge here goes to the Broncos and their two corners, Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter.
The Falcons will be without their starting CB Brent Grimes for the rest of the year and that remains a blow to their secondary. The last thing you want is for Manning to find a weakness and exploit it, which he has shown he is more than capable of still doing at the age of 36. This will be an intense battle between the offenses as both teams have above average TEs, WRs and QBs. Where the game will be won though is in two areas that you might not expect from two teams that rely heavily on the QB play.
The first area are the RBs which will prove more valuable then most would think. Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers did not have a particularly strong game last week against the Chiefs and they will be hard-pressed to do much better while facing a stronger Broncos defense. Even without Ty Warren, who was placed on the IR for the rest of this season, the Broncos still have a better corps to stop the run. They more than proved that last week against a veteran and talented Pittsburgh Steelers O-line and run game. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno were also able to move the chains against last year’s number one defense, and that should scare the hell out of the Falcons this week. This edge also goes to the Broncos.
The biggest key for the Broncos to win this game will be field position and that is where, not only the run game, but the return game comes into play. Jim Leonhard is very good at securing the ball and got some decent yardage against the Steelers. He will be counted on to produce against the Falcons special teams unit and if he can, that will set the tone.
Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy is blessed to have this kind of talent to work with, but the schedule is tough and he will learn that while the no-huddle is needed, he needs to trust his RBs as well. I said earlier in the week in my NFL Preview that this game will be won on a field goal and the Broncos clearly have one of the best long-range kickers in the NFL in Matt Prater. One thing you will be guaranteed to see on Monday night, however, is two explosive offenses looking to go 2-0 on the season and only one will get there. While both may sputter at times, I have a hard time ever betting against a Manning.
BroncosRants Top Keys:
Broncos run game vs Falcons D-line
Broncos special teams play
Falcons TEs vs Broncos LBs
Falcons run game vs Broncos D-line
BroncosRants Final Score: Broncos 24 Falcons 21
Join BroncosRants each week as we run down the upcoming games and give insight on everything Denver Broncos
Follow Me on Twitter @cmoir727
Like CraigMoirRants on Facebook