The Broncos began the difficult start to their season with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now they travel to Hotlanta in a showdown with the Dirty Birds. Atlanta destroyed the Broncos’ division rival Chiefs last week, and represent a formidable foe for Denver. I am not a big believer in Matt Ryan, however he does always perform well in the regular season and he does have better weapons this year with a more mature Julio Jones.
Manning has a career record of 11-3 on Monday Night, while Matty ‘Ice’ is 0-3. Now these numbers do not mean a lot for this current matchup, however I expect those trends to remain the same.
Keys to the Game: Tracy Porter and Champ Bailey must play strong games again. Roddy White and Julio Jones are explosive receivers and both have the ability to turn short receptions into long gains. I would not worry much about Bailey, but Porter should receive help with a shaded safety on his side of the field.
Protect Peyton Manning. In last weeks game, the Denver offensive line played well for the most part, but runningback Knowshon Moreno failed to pick up the blitz on a couple of plays, almost getting Manning killed. If Moreno cannot pass block his snaps are going to be severely limited.
Do not drop the ball. Eric Decker had a couple of opportunities to make a nice catch, but failed to do so. If Manning gives you an opportunity to catch the ball you need to take advantage of it, especially on third downs.
Final Analysis: The Falcons have been a front running team in the Matt Ryan era. They play well when things are going well, but have not played their best against strong adversity. If there is one thing we know about Peyton Manning is that nothing, expect playoff football, causes him to play poorly. Denver will jump out to an early lead and prevent any kind of comeback. Denver 27 Atlanta 14.