They couldn't have picked a better matchup for Monday Night Football than the tilt between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos.
Both teams were incredibly impressive in Week 1. Peyton Manning's regular-season return was a huge success and led the Broncos to a big win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Matt Ryan and the new high-octane passing attack of the Falcons were clicking in a blowout win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
On paper, this MNF game looks like it could be one heck of a shootout. Then again, nobody plays on paper. Let's take a closer look at this premier Week 2 contest.
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
When: Monday, September 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN, WatchESPN
Spread: Falcons (-3), according to Bet Online
Lay the points with the Falcons at home. This should be a tight game between evenly matched teams, but when it comes right down to it, I think the Falcons are simply a bit better. Oh, and they've been 20-5 at home in the past three years.
Over/Under: 51, according to Bet Online
This game has shootout written all over it. Then again, every game I've thought that about this year has turned out to be anything but a shootout.
Yes, the Broncos scored 31 last week and the Falcons put up 40; but the Broncos played a Pittsburgh Steelers team without James Harrison and Ryan Clark, while the Falcons will face a bigger test from the Denver defense than they saw from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Take the under. I know it sounds crazy, but something is telling me this won't be the shootout we all expect.
Broncos Injuries (via ESPN)
WR Demaryius Thomas, Shoulder, Probable
CB Chris Harris, Ankle, Questionable
DE Ty Warren, Triceps, Out (Injured Reserved)
Falcons Injuries (via ESPN)
WR Roddy White, Groin, Questionable
CB Brent Grimes, Achilles Tendon, Out for Season
Broncos Fantasy Impact
But that Peyton Manning guy is pretty good, so I'd start him, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Jacob Tamme.
Falcons Fantasy Impact
Keys to Broncos Win
On offense, Manning needs to take advantage of the Falcons corners. With Brent Grimes out for the season, Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson slide into the starting roles. While each are talented, Samuel often takes too many chances, and Robinson suffers from bouts of poor discipline.
If Manning can exploit the pair, the Broncos should be able to throw the ball successfully and score some quick points on big plays.
Keys to Falcons Win
And with the Broncos likely to run the no-huddle, the Falcons should be able to dominate time of possession if the defense can get a few early stops.
Defensively, shutting down the run will be key. If you can make the Broncos one dimensional and keep Manning throwing the ball around, the Falcons can turn up the blitz and get after No. 18. The no-huddle may be tough to deal with, but it gets a bit easier to handle if you know the pass is coming each time.
The Falcons get the win, 27-23.
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