If you had to pick a game on this 2016 Falcons schedule that the team was likeliest to lose, you would probably choose this one or next week’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Me, I’m going with the Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos.
Denver has a solid offense, no matter which quarterback is at the helm, one that’s good enough to put up 20-plus points against most defenses in the league. It’s the defense that’s problematic, and thus far in 2016 they’ve held four competent-to-excellent quarterbacks in check, allowing just two passing touchdowns and five interceptions. They have a strong secondary and a relentless pass rush that imposes its will on other teams, and they’ve very difficult to keep out of one’s backfield.
I can’t stress this enough: Picking the Falcons to lose this one is no sign of disrespect. I’ve been incredibly impressed with Atlanta thus far this year, and my hopes for the future of the franchise are higher than they’ve been in some time. It’s just that this Denver defense is one of the best ones I’ve seen in 25 years of watching the NFL, and considering Atlanta is built to torch opposing defenses and not necessarily defend against offenses (of virtually any caliber), I could see this one getting ugly if Denver can get pressure. Even with this terrific offensive line, containing Von Miller in particular will be very tough.
It’s possible Atlanta maintains some offensive balance, gets Julio Jones another big day, and pulls off a close win, but this is likely to be the team’s lowest-scoring game of the year. If they win, it’s a sign the Falcons have truly arrived and shouldn’t be counted out of any games the rest of they way. If they lose, it does absolutely nothing to discourage me about their prospects the rest of the way, because I’ve long expected them to lose it.
I’ve got the Falcons dropping this one by a score of 27-21. How about you?