Falcons set to face Denver

Jimmy Cribb/atlantafalcons.com

It’s only Week 2 of the NFL season, but there is already a game that has playoff hype behind it. On Monday night, the Falcons will face the Denver Broncos at the Georgia Dome and both teams are coming off impressive wins last week.

Denver got a big Sunday night win against the Pittsburgh Steelers and it was a game that belonged to Peyton Manning. The veteran quarterback was 19 of 26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. His go-to guy was Demaryius Thomas who had five catches for 110 yards and one touchdown. The Falcons will also have to watch for receiver Eric Decker and running back Willis McGahee. Decker had five receptions for 54 yards and McGahee had 64 yards on 16 rushes.

The Broncos defense was especially stout as they sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times and forced one pick. Outside linebacker Wesley Woodward will on the Falcons radar as he led the team with 12 tackles and one sack. The other outside linebacker, Von Miller, had two sacks to go along with his four tackles. Miller is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year who is coming off an 11.5 sack performance.

Tracy Porter and Champ Bailey make a dangerous cornerback tandem as both players have the ability to pick off passes at will. Porter had the interception for the Broncos last week which was returned for a touchdown to put the game away. Defensive end Elvis Dumervill is another player that can get after the quarterback. Dumervill has 52 career sacks in six seasons.

The Falcons also got a big win last week as they blew past Kansas City 40-24. Matt Ryan was 23 of 31 for 299 yards three touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Ryan is starting to develop chemistry with Julio Jones who caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Jones performance also opened the door for Roddy White who quietly had six-catch, 87-yard performance.

The one thing the Falcons have to do in the game on Monday night is get Michael Turner going. Turner only had 11 carries for 32 yards last week and if the Falcons want to keep Manning and the Broncos offense off the field, Turner has to have a big game.

The Falcons also have to tighten up on defense. The Falcons surrendered 393 total yards to the Chiefs including 152 yards on the ground. With Bent Grimes out for the year, this means Chris Owens will play the nickelback spot while Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel will be the starting corners. In order to not give those three an unnecessary workout, the front seven has to play well against the run and the pass. Defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards will have to play big as well as outside linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas, who had a monster game last week with 12 tackles and one interception.

This game has the makings to have a lot of fireworks when it comes to scoring. This is the first time Ryan and Manning have faced each other, which is interesting because both players have so many similarities. Both are field generals, both threw for over 3,000 yards their rookie seasons and both have started their playoff careers 0-3.

Manning is stellar when he’s playing in a dome stadium, but Ryan rarely loses at the Georgia Dome. This game will come down who can make the most plays on defense and while the Falcons defense struggled in the first half, they picked it up in the second half as they came up with three turnovers. Broncos have playmakers all over the field on defense and would love to shut down Ryan and the high-powered Falcons offense. Yeah, it should quite the game Monday night.

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