Denver Broncos: The Dirty Birds Enter No Fly Zone

Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Denver Broncos defensive back Aqib Talib (21) returns an interception in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Denver Broncos defensive back Aqib Talib (21) returns an interception in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

It will be strength VS strength when Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons number one offense meets Denver’s stingy pass defense…

Last Sunday, Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and four touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers. In four games the Denver defense has allowed 678 yards and two touchdowns. They say “styles make fights…” If that’s the case, this weekends match-up is a main event bout.

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The Broncos defense continues to shut down really good offenses, but through four weeks, no offense has been better than the Falcons. The Falcons feature a lot of interesting challenges and the Broncos will need to be at their best to keep Atlanta out of the end zone.

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan enters Sunday as the number one quarterback and is showing why he is constantly on the fringe of being elite. Ryan averages 368 yards per game, while completing passes at an impressive 72.1%. Last year, turnovers plagued Ryan, however this year he has corrected those mistakes only throwing two interceptions to his 11 touchdowns. The Broncos defense will definitely will offer his biggest challenge of the whole season.

The Broncos’ “No Fly Zone” has only allowed 170 pass yards per game, nearly 200 yards less than Ryan’s average. A mixture of tight man-to-man coverage and a strong pass rush will be needed to keep Ryan in check. Von Miller and company lead the NFL in sacks and quarterback hits. Ryan must feel that pressure.

Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu

Julio Jones may be the best receiver in football and 12 catches for 300 yards last week proves that. Alongside his quarterback, Jones leads the league in receiving yards with 488. Jones will definitely be the main focus for the Broncos. He offers the biggest threat but isn’t their only quality receiver…

The Falcons brought in Mohamed Sanu through free agency hoping he could be the Robin to Jones’s Batman. The past few games Sanu has dealt with a shoulder injury, which has limited his success.

The “No Fly Zone” has faced it’s share of top receivers already this season. Yet they haven’t given up a 100+ yard game to a receiver as of yet. Kelvin Benjamin (6 catches 91 yards), T.Y. Hilton (4 catches 41 yards), A.J. Green (8 catches 77 yards, and Mike Evans (5 catches 59 yards) have all had limited success against this secondary. It’s anticipated that Aqib Talib will be lined up against Jones for the majority of the day. He has the ability to match Jones’s physicality down the field. Chris Harris Jr. is very trusted by the Broncos coaching staff and if he matches up with Jones they won’t bat an eye. Going up against Sanu will allow for man-to-man coverage which will favor Harris Jr.

Running Back Duo

The Falcons don’t have a star running back, what they have is one hell of a committee. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman lead possibly the best duo of running backs in the league. Not only are they talented on the ground but they both are major weapons through the air. Both have the potential to take a swing pass all the way on any play. Coleman represents the second leading receiver on the Falcons roster. So, these two need to be accounted for at all times.

In charge of keeping the running backs in check will be Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis. It will be important for Marshall and Davis to wrap up and not allow them to get into the open field. In week three the linebackers did a good job of keeping shifty running back Giovani Bernard from getting  yards after the catch. Therefore, the Broncos are equipped to limit the running backs.

Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper

A name that Broncos fans may be familiar with, is now a safety blanket for Matt Ryan. Tamme isn’t a special athlete, but a wily veteran who finds holes in the defense. Against the Broncos, Tamme’s main duty will be to keep the chains moving on third down situations. Austin Hooper is the young tight end with high upside, and he has shown flashes early in his career.

The defense will most likely use T.J. Ward to combat Tamme. Ward will rely on his physical prowess to jam the tight end at the line. Julio Jones is the superstar on the team, but the tight ends and the running backs can determine the outcome of the game.

There is no doubt the Broncos will not be intimidated by Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Majority of the defense love facing against the best. A mixture of the pass rush and tight coverage will allow the Broncos to continue their success. Meanwhile, The Falcons will face their biggest challenge. Luckily having a Super Bowl caliber defense always gives you the advantage.