Coming off of the Sunday night thriller against the Pittsburgh Steelers, The Denver Broncos will take their act on the road to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons. The Broncos offense was put on full display against the Steeler defense.
Denver did have their work cut out for themselves in that Sunday night game, but they also had a chance for the first time to implement their offense for a full four quarters
(Well…three quarters if we want to be technical as the Broncos held onto the ball for on 36 seconds in the third).
What should not be over looked is the new look defense. Under new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, the Broncos D held the Steelers offense to under 300 yards, including 75 yards on the ground. But the Broncos have a new challenge they will face this week in the Atlanta Falcon offense. The question is can the Broncos slow down the explosive Falcon offense.
The Falcon offense erupted for 376 yards, but a majority of those yards came in the first three-quarters when the damage had been done. The passing attack took flight for 292 yards with Julio Jones getting 108 and 2 TD’s and Roddy White chipping in 87 yards as well. Matt Ryan was very efficient last week as well going 23 of 31 and the offensive line did a good job of keeping him up right, allowing only one sack.
Can the Broncos adjust to the Falcons passing attack? We know that Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter will do their job, but when Atlanta spreads the offense out and puts Denver in nickle defense, can the Broncos slow down Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez, CB Chris Harris and LB Wesley Woodyard will be X-Factors in the game.
Last week, the Broncos struggled to get of the field after third down, letting the Steelers go 11 of 19. If Denver can’t stop them, the Falcons will be able to control the clock.
Being able to get the Falcon offense off the field will be key, this game will become a track meet, both teams will implement a no huddle offense to not allow for the other team to make defensive adjustments. The front four, including Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller and Derek Wolfe will have to get after Matt Ryan. If they don’t sack him, they will need to rattle him after the pass to try and throw the rhythm off with the offense.
If this matchup moves towards being a shootout, the one thing that can help out the defense is the Broncos running game. They need to establish the run and keep the Falcon offense off the field, forcing them to score on every possession. Last week against Pittsburgh, the Broncos ran the ball 27 times for 95 yards, good for 3.5 yards per touch. That has to improve, and they may need to run the ball more often, whether the ground attack is working or not. They need to slow down the game and keep the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hands.
Fortunately, the Broncos will face a Falcon secondary that just lost their number one cornerback in Brent Grimes for the season due to an Achilles injury suffered in the win last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos will test out that secondary with Chris Owens and Robert McClain as the two DB’s that will most likely be matched up with Brandon Stokley.
This game has “track meet” written all over it, this will be a good one as two high-powered offenses go at it. This game will be most likely decided by who has the ball last and who makes the first mistake in the game.