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Atlanta Falcons @ Denver Broncos
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Is there suddenly a QB controversy in the Mile High City? When Trevor Siemian, one of the best Cinderella stories of this early season, went out last week with a shoulder injury, many (myself included) thought Paxton Lynch would be asked to do little more than hand the ball off to CJ Anderson and hold the fort waiting for the defense to do its thing to keep Tampa Bay off the score board and to win the game.
Anyone who thought that way thought wrong. Instead of going conservative, Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison opened up the playbook and let Lynch run much of the offensive play sets. The rookie acquitted himself very, very well. The Broncos have to feel very good about how their QB situation has panned out this year. Perhaps they are even surprised.
But there is no controversy this year. This is Siemian’s team. It will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Did you hear the one about the quarter back who threw for over 500 yards against last year’s NFC champions? Yeah, I did, too. Matt Ryan had a DAY last week. It will be up to the defensive line of the Broncos to get more pressure on him than the Panthers did last week.
I think they are more than up to the challenge. Somehow, some way, this D-line seems even better than they were last year, and they have been operating without DeMarcus Ware who looked so very good in early action before his injury. Two weeks ago, Shane Ray was unblockable. Last week, it was Derek Wolfe who couldn’t be stopped. Von Miller leads the league in sacks.
Hold the ball too long, Matt Ryan, and you’ll go down. Make bad decisions and you’ll give up a pick. Tough spot for the Falcons playing the Broncos on their home turf. I think Denver wins this match up and takes the game.
Julio Jones was ALL WORLD against the Panthers last week. All. World. Piling up over 300 yards is pretty impressive. Making some of those catches is even moreso. Jones has been one of the best receivers in the league for years and last week felt like something of a coming out party for him and the Falcons this season. On the strength of his performance and the Falcons’ win, the team has become part of the “best in the league” chatter. That might be a little premature.
If Jones does it again versus the Broncos and the Falcons take the game, let the talk continue.
I can’t see the Falcons making the long trip to Mile High and beating the Broncos this weekend. Factor in the reality that they played division rival (and NFC champion) Carolina last week – and beat them – along with the travel, you might have a Falcons team ready for a bit of an emotional let down. Their Super Bowl was likely the Panthers game and, though they have their sights set on the division now, an out-of-conference road game against a very, very good team following an emotional win does not add up to victory.
They can beat Denver, but it will take an even better effort than they put together last week. Do they have that kind of game in them? Possibly. But I wouldn’t count on it.
Make mine Denver with the newly confident Falcons putting up a few points in the process in garbage time after Siemian is out, Lynch is in and the defense has called off the dogs.