Broncos vs. Falcons: Biggest Matchups to Watch in Monday Night Showdown
As far as Monday Night Football matchups go, you will be hard pressed to find one that is better than the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.
You have the two marquee quarterbacks—one still trying to prove he is in that elite class of quarterbacks, and the other trying to get to that level after years of flirting with that group. This is an excellent measuring stick game for both teams, as they try to prove they are Super Bowl contenders.
As the final game of Week 2 approaches, here are the biggest matchups to pay close attention to that will determine the winner.
Broncos Cornerbacks vs. Falcons Wide Receivers
One of the biggest reasons people are high on the Falcons is because of their 1-2 punch at wide receiver with Roddy White and Julio Jones. They combined for 12 catches, 195 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.
The Broncos will counter with Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter. At 34, Bailey just keeps plugging along as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He is going to have the toughest assignment, which will likely be Jones most of the time, throughout this game.
Porter is not a great cornerback, though he does have the ability to make a play when he attacks the ball. If he lets White get behind him, this game could get out of control early.
You have to give an edge to the Falcons in this matchup, but don't underestimate the value Bailey adds to the rest of the secondary if he can cut off one side of the field.
Broncos Defensive Line vs. Falcons Offensive Line
Who will have the greatest impact in this MNF showdown?
There was a time when the Falcons were known as more of a power offense that ran the ball first. As Matt Ryan has gained more experience, and weapons have been added around him, the philosophy has changed.
Now, with the Falcons wanting to air it out more, Michael Turner and the running game have taken a hit.
Unfortunately, the Broncos specialize in rushing the passer. They have those two studs on the outside in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. D.J. Williams is no slouch, either, so they have to take advantage of what the Falcons try to do.
If the Falcons can adapt their offense, that would pose problems for the Broncos, though they did look a lot better defending the run against Pittsburgh last week.
Peyton Manning vs. Falcons Secondary
For all the good things that happened to the Falcons in Week 1, the loss of Brent Grimes, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, is devastating to a secondary that didn't have much depth to begin with.
The one area where the Falcons struggle on defense is against the pass. Even if you aren't completely sold on Manning being "all the way back" after one game—I am not—he still has the ability to pick on shorthanded defenses.
The Falcons are going to need their defensive line to step up and make plays against a solid Broncos offensive line. They need to create pressure with their front four and be able to drop a lot of guys into coverage.
Manning will have a field day against this defense if he has time to throw. Plus, we all know how much he loves playing in a dome.
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