Friday, September 14, 2012

Game of the Week: Broncos @ Falcons

    HEEEE'S BAAACK! The Pittsburgh Steelers were the first team to be defeated by Peyton Manning since his neck injury. Manning looked close to his old self, passing for 253 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 129.2. However, the road ahead is not any easier, for he will go up against the Atlanta Falcons away from Denver. Atlanta is coming off of a monstrous win over the Kansas City Chiefs, a team projected to do very well in 2012. After adjusting their game plan, Matt Ryan has been given more freedom when it comes to throwing it deep to his lethal weapons at wide receiver. Monday's game will not be a defensive battle, so it will be interesting to see who wins in this shootout.

Denver Broncos: Last Sunday's game may not have been Manning's best performance, but he is on track to throw for 30-plus touchdowns and 4,000 passing yards. The Broncos somehow managed to make the playoffs in 2011, and though it is only Week 1, they might just win the AFC West for the second year in a row. A loss to Atlanta however would hurt their confidence, and the momentum would no not be as strong. Unfortunately, with Tim Tebow gone, the running game suffered quite a bit, no longer the same unit as in 2011. This entire team will rely on Manning's leadership, who is 3-1 against Atlanta in his 14 year career. If he can stay accurate and consistent, the entire team will feed off of his success.

Atlanta Falcons: What if the Matt Ryan who showed up in last Sunday's game was the Matt Ryan we saw week in and week out. His extraordinary receiving corp, consisting of Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, and Julio Jones, will always create problems for opposing defenses. Michael Turner's 11 attempts in Week 1 racked up just 32 yards, a mere 2.9 yards per attempt. It appears as if Turner's statistics will not improve much from here, for head coach Mike Smith wants to incorporate more passing into his offensive game plan. Smith won't be relying on this defense to stop Manning on each drive, so that will put even more pressure on Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Based on how they played against Kansas City, Atlanta has the edge entering Week 2's biggest stage.

Offensive Edge: Falcons

Defensive Edge: Broncos

Prediction: Falcons over Broncos 34-20

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