The Broncos are not one of Atlanta’s great historic rivals. They don’t have the best winning percentage against the Falcons, for starters, and they’ve only played against them a combined 15 times since 1970. It’s likely they’d be utterly unremarkable for the average Falcons fan if not for the Super Bowl, which we’ll get to a little later on.
Today’s Broncos are not the team that won a chip earlier this decade, and especially not the borderline juggernaut that ran all over the league in the mid-to-late 90s. We’re not even going to see their starters, which makes this a terribly uncompelling game. But in the games that have counted, the Falcons are 6-9 against Denver, including 0-1 in their lone Super Bowl matchup following the wonderful and cursed 1998 season.
Thus far, there have been three distinct waves in the rivalry, if you can call it that. The first saw the Falcons win three of their first five matchups against Denver, including a 35-21 triumph in 1975. Then they lost their next six games against the Broncos, including the Super Bowl, which covered the years 1985-2000. Since then, they’ve won three of the last four matchups, including that memorable win in 2012 when the Falcons repeatedly picked off a bewildered Peyton Manning. These two teams last met in 2016, when the Falcons eked out a 23-16 victory over Denver.
This battle on neutral turf won’t add anything to the W/L column and won’t feature starters, but based that 1999 game alone, it’d feel good to stick it to Denver and John Elway in particular.