In one of the more underrated games of the NFL’s opening weekend, the Atlanta Falcons travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in a game that brings tight end Tony Gonzalez back to his NFL roots.
For Chiefs fans, it was hard to see Tony G. leave, and it will be even harder to see him come back to Kansas City and have success against his former team.
However, the entire Falcons offense is potent and features two of the top wide receivers in the league in Julio Jones and Roddy White, as well as Michael Turner at running back. Needless to say, the Chiefs defense will have its hands full on Sunday afternoon, especially with a number of players slowed by injury.
Kansas City’s offense is just as solid, at least on paper. The Chiefs possess one of the more potent running games in the league and also have Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster at wide receiver, and Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss at tight end.
This matchup has "shootout" written all over it.
Here is one bold prediction for each team heading into Sunday’s season opener.
Julio Jones Has His Best Game as a Pro with 8 Receptions, 130 Yards and 2 Touchdowns
Jones is one of many pieces in the Falcons' offensive onslaught. Atlanta can throw countless looks at opposing defenses, making it difficult for teams to key on any one player.
The Chiefs’ top cornerback Brandon Flowers is slowed with a heel injury and safety Kendrick Lewis is bothered by a bum shoulder. The fact that Kansas City’s pass rush will be without Tamba Hali and linebacker Derrick Johnson’s ankle is still recovering means that Matt Ryan should be able to feast on the porous Chiefs’ defense.
Romeo Crennel will have to play a game of pick-your-poison when deciding who to shut down on the Falcons’ offense. With Jones being considered the most talented out of the bunch, he should have a field day against Kansas City on Sunday.
Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis Each Run for Over 80 Yards and Find the End Zone
The Chiefs will not be successful in 2012 unless they are able to establish a strong running game. That must start this Sunday against the Falcons.
While Atlanta is capable of jumping on the Chiefs early, Kansas City won’t be able to keep up through the air alone. Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis are the keys to a Chiefs victory this week and for the offense throughout the entire 2012 campaign.
Charles and Hillis are sure to split carries, which will keep the Falcons on their heels for much of the game.
Quarterback Matt Cassel should find balance with the passing game, creating more opportunities for the Chiefs’ backfield to rack up some serious yardage.