Week 2: Denver Broncos At Atlanta Falcons
- QuarterbackPeyton Manning is not going to go overboard about one regular season game, but deep in his heart the Broncos’ Week One 31-19 win over the Steelers has to be one of the most satisfying games of his career. He was fundamentally sound and got stronger as the game went on and there are no doubts about his intelligence and leadership ability.Matt Ryan knows that the Falcons have a great opportunity this year and he came out of the gate firing bullets in Atlanta’s win over Kansas City. Ryan is a very accurate passer who has never come through in the postseason. He appears fully motivated this year.
- OffenseThe Broncos don’t have a slew of great receivers for Manning to throw to, but Eric Decker is a warrior who will take a shot to make a catch. Demaryius Thomas has explosive speed and he burned the Steelers again in Week One. Willis McGahee no longer has the breakaway speed, but he runs with verve and courage.Michael Turner is a solid running back who has strength and quickness. Wide receiver Julio Jones is a down-the-field gamebreaker, while Roddy White is a glue-fingered receiver who can keep drives alive. Tight end Tony Gonzalez has what it takes to help the Falcons get over the edge.
- DefenseThe Broncos are one of the fastest defenses in the league and linebacker Von Miller can take over any game at any time. Elvis Dumervil is a pass-rushing end who must be accounted for on every snap. Champ Bailey remains one of the best cover men in the league.The Falcons also possess speed on the defensive end and they are at their best when defensive John Abraham is turning the corner and harassing the quarterback. Outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas had 12 tackles an interception in the opener. Cornerback Dunta Robinson is a gambler who will give up big plays on occasion.
- Special TeamsThe Broncos are happy with their special teamers Matt Prater and Britton Colquitt. Prater is a placekicker who regularly booms the ball out of the endzone. Colquitt led the league in punting yards a year ago and also knows how to place the ball and deaden it.Matt Bryant got off to a superb start with against the Chiefs by connecting on 4-of-4 field goal attempts. Bryant hit nearly 90 percent of his FG attempts last year. Opponents can’t return Matt Bosher’s punts. He limited returners to an average of 4.8 yards per try last year.
Both teams started their season in magical fashion. While Manning had to feel good about his first game in a Denver uniform, he is all about preparation and playing well in the next game. The Falcons are determined to defend their homefield, and will try to disguise their coverages in order to confuse Manning. Good luck with that.