Denver Broncos: Key matchups vs the Atlanta Falcons
Matchups: McTelvin Agim vs. Chris Lindstrom/James Carpenter
The Falcons’ offense poses so many different matchups the Broncos will need to account for. Atlanta has an abundance of talent, as first-round draft picks are found throughout the starting lineup.
The defensive secondary will be tested throughout as wide receiver Julio Jones is an absolute monster outside. While teams focus on the passing game, the Falcons have former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, who looks at home in this offense with eight rushing touchdowns on the season.
However, this offense runs through triggerman, quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan sits near the top of many NFL passing statistics, and once again is carving up defenses week-in-week-out.
Offensive guards Chirs Lindstrom and James Carpenter are talented players who provide the NFL’s leading passer, Ryan, with time to throw.
The play of the defensive line will go a long way in determining how the defense performs.
For the Broncos to win, they must continue to bring pressure while stopping the run.
Last week, the Broncos were chewed up for over 200 yards on the ground and almost 300 yards in the air.
Several of the defensive issues came from young defensive lineman jumping gaps and losing containment. The defensive line will need to play together to limit the run game against a talented Falcons offense to win this week.
Rookie McTelvin Agim looks to get some playing time this week as Shelby Harris will most likely miss the game due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
Agim will be lined up in either a 3-T (shaded between the offensive guard and tackle) or a 5-T (outside shoulder of the tackle and inside of the tight end) most of the time. Agim will need to not only hold his own in the run game against two quality lineman in Carpenter and Lindstrom, but his physical ability to get to the passer needs to actualize into pressures.
If Agim isn’t able to anchor in the run game, Gurley could have a big day. And if Gurley can get going, the Broncos will have to honor the run, which reduces their ability to allocate resources to Jones outside.
Agim is a superior athlete to both Lindstrom (good athlete, but not great) and Carpenter (big-bodied but limited athletically) and should use his length and quickness to cause both guards issues.
If Agim can produce in Harris’s place, the Broncos defense should make life tough on Ryan and Gurley all game.
In the end, this game will be won with the matchups upfront, regardless of the talent both teams have in their skill positions.
If Gurley causes havoc, the Broncos gameplan becomes limited. If the interior offensive line can push Agim around and contain him on passing downs, the Falcons could really cause the Broncos defense issues.
Look for these matchups to decide the game Sunday. If the Broncos win upfront, they win Sunday and find themselves in a good spot halfway through the season.