Gridiron Gab Week Two Preview: Denver at Atlanta

The final game of the second week of the NFL season takes us to Atlanta, as the Manning’s (er the Broncos) will travel to play the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

Peyton Manning was the talk of the town last week after he came back for the first time in a year and threw well in a 31-19 win over the Steelers.

The Broncos are a slight 3-point underdog tonight, but if Manning and his mates can pull out a win, they will have all eyes on them early in the year.

Last week Manning was 19 of 26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’ve seen improvement every time he’s gone out, going back to the beginning of preseason and even before that,” Broncos coach John Fox said Monday. “Physically, mentally, him adjusting to new teammates, new coaches, I think he’s been tremendous.”

Tonight he will have to match a Falcons offense that was even more impressive in their opening win, a beating of the Chiefs in Kansas City 40-24 in a game they dominated.

The Falcons averaged 6.8 yards per play and finished with 376 yards overall. Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed 23 of 31 passes for 299 yards, accounting for three touchdowns through the air and one rushing score.

Julio Jones made six catches for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Broncos secondary is good, as is the Falcons, which means this game could come down to what team can make the bigger plays, and with Ryan and his two stud WR’s, I think it will be the Falcons.

Watch out though, as Champ Bailey and the Denver defense, which held Ben Roethlisberger to 209 yards passing – 98 in the second half, will look to confuse Ryan.

Look for the Falcons to test those players, but also to give more shots to running back Michael Turner. “We want to be able to run the ball effectively,” coach Mike Smith said. “But with our game plan, that was not the main thing we wanted to accomplish.”

Denver is going to have to build a lead, as it’s tough to try to comeback on the road vs a solid Falcons D. I think Manning plays well, but Ryan and the Falcons offense plays just a tad better.

Atlanta 27 Denver 17

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