The Denver Broncos travel down to the dirty south to take on the 1-0 Atlanta Falcons in week 2 on Monday Night Football.
That’s why I had to ask Greg Huseth of Blogging Dirty some questions about the Falcons. Let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue and get to know one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
Predominantly Orange: The Falcons had a convincing win over the Chiefs in week one, and QB Matt Ryan was seemingly flawless contributing four touchdowns. What kind of performance do you expect out of Ryan with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil out on the field now?
Blogging Dirty: I think the Falcons looked very explosive in the passing game, and if they had kept the pedal to the metal, they could have done more through the air. Ryan is our franchise quarterback, no doubts there. I think that the Falcons will have a tough time stopping both Miller and Dumervil if they tried to drop back and pass every time. The thing that the Falcons have working in their favor is solid balance. The Broncos defensive tackle situation isn’t ideal, and through effective runs and play-actions off of that, they can keep these great linebackers off balance. In the end, they will get more than a sack and three total quarterback hits, which is what the Chiefs got, but this Falcons offense will get theirs and continue to score through the air.
PO: Roddy White and Julio Jones are arguably the best one-two receiving punch in the league. There’s talk of Champ Bailey matching up one-on-one with Jones Monday night. Who do you like in that matchup?
BD: As soon as I saw this question, I immediately got a huge grin. This is going to be one heck of a matchup. Even if its Bailey against Roddy White, its going to be fun football to watch. But this is the reason why the Falcons brought in Julio Jones, to win one-on-one situations. Physically and athletically, Jones is much better, but he is only in his second year and has much to learn. On the other hand there is nothing in the NFL that Champ has not seen, and he can use that ‘age and wisdom’ to his advantage. It should be fun to watch. I expect that matchup in particular to be a back and forth battle all night long
PO: What kind of defense do you expect the Falcons to throw at Peyton Manning?
BD: What defense can a team possibly throw out there that can possibly confuse Peyton Manning? I think the answer is none. Manning is going to move the ball effectively no matter who he is facing. I think it is going to be necessary for the Falcons to muddy the pocket for Manning, and not allow a perfect pocket for him to operate from. The Falcons secondary can do a decent job against the Broncos receiving corps, but even that isn’t going to always be enough. Forcing Manning to throw the ball will be crucial, because then and only then will he feel the need to put the team on his back and possibly turn the ball over.
PO: Starting CB Brent Grimes was lost for the season with a torn Achilles. What does the loss mean?
BD: It’s a pretty big deal here in Atlanta. We have Robinson who is a physical corner who is best at zone, and Asante Samuel who is good at baiting the quarterback and creating big plays, but Grimes was by far the Falcons best cover corner. That being said, I don’t know that you saw all that the secondary is capable of because they were asked to cover their receivers far longer than can be expected. The pass-rush rarely got to Matt Cassel, and the secondary gave up lots of big plays, Grimes included. It certainly hurts against teams who are unafraid to look to their third and fourth receiving options like the Broncos, but it’s not as awful as if John Abraham went down with an injury. The Falcons defense will have to work harder to overcome his loss.
PO: Finally, your prediction for Monday night?
BD: This game is going to be a shootout, pure and simple. The Falcons will probably be able to score on just about anyone this season, but I also believe that most teams will be able to score on the Falcons, including the Broncos. I do believe that being at home will benefit the Falcons, and they will pull out a squeaker. Falcons 31- Broncos 30.
Greg asked me some questions about the Broncos over at Blogging Dirty. You can read that Q&A here.