Atlanta Falcons (1-0) vs. Denver Broncos (1-0)
RADIO: Sirius 93 (Falcons Feed), Sirius 92 (Broncos Feed)
LIVE STREAM: NFL Live Stream
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
LINE: Falcons by 3
KEY MATCHUP: Peyton Manning vs. Falcons Secondary
PREDICTION: Falcons 34, Broncos 38
The Peyton Manning era has fully begun in Denver and it sees another tough matchup tonight with the Atlanta Falcons. Never before have these two teams met and both were this good since probably the 1998 Super Bowl — and not to sound bold, but we may be headed for a rematch this year.
Of course, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan are actually quite similar to one another. Both have amazing regular season success but neither could every really find post season success come as easily. Ryan has been the quarterback of multiple offenses that have been highly potent, but they’ve failed to go anywhere when it counts.
Manning, on the other hand, went places in the postseason but it wasn’t until almost ten years into his career that he finally made it to a Super Bowl. Manning is perhaps the greatest regular season quarterback that will ever play the game and clearly with the contract he got from Denver, he still is today. But even with a Super Bowl ring and two trips to his credit, postseason success is hard for Manning to achieve.
Both of these quarterbacks will be looking to put that behind them and carve out epic seasons this year, as hype for both is insanely high. Ryan’s 2 point trip to through the NFC Playoffs last year puts even more steam on him as his elite status is being called into question. The weapons are starting to age and Ryan needs to figure something out fast or he may end up as the next Dan Marino; not bad, but he’s no Peyton Manning.
All the playoff talk is really getting ahead of ourselves at this point. The NFL season is still init’s infancy and as we saw last year, anything can happen. What will happen tonight is a shootout. Both offenses are insanely stacked and both defenses are not capable of defending something like that. If there is a defense tonight that could prevent a shootout, it’s Denver’s.
The loss of Brent Grimes in the Atlanta secondary cripples them in a way — or so you would think — and for that reason there’s high anxiety about Manning coming to town tonight. If he puts on a show, Grimes absence all season long will be highlighted, underlined and pointed out as a flaw until he comes back next year.
However, if the Atlanta defense shows it can still properly function without a major cog in the wheel, we will start to see the NFC cream rise to the top. Right now the 49ers are without a doubt the best team in the NFL at the moment and they’ve been my pick to go to the Super Bowl and face the Texans since before the season started. But this Atlanta team is very talented and they get zero credit for being as such, thanks to playoff inadequacies.
They can take a page out of the 49ers book and build that respect back game by game, and pulverizing Peyton Manning in a game that’s supposed to be a shootout is one way to do so.