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Falcons defense vs. Broncos offense: Who wins this matchup?

Does Atlanta finally get a favorable matchup for the defense?

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Broncos offense is a tough one to pin down. On paper, they’re not particularly talented. And in their first several games they were all over the place, scoring 14, 21, 10 and 37. In recent weeks, they scored 18 against the Patriots, 16 against the Chiefs and 31 going up against the Chargers. We’re going to have to dive into the matchups to figure this one out.

In the trenches

The Falcons defensive line is not particularly good, but they have a difference maker in Grady Jarrett, who is playing up to his normal top-tier levels. Dante Fowler Jr. is the biggest disappointment, though he’s looked slightly better since his ankle injury has healed up. The team is getting John Cominsky back, though we have no idea what or who he is at this point in his young career. Takk McKinley won’t be helping in this game, as Raheem Morris has already ruled him out.

Garett Bolles at left tackle is a very good player on this Broncos offensive line. After him, though, the quality drops off harshly. The interior of Dalton Risner, rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry and Austin Schlottmann are overall pretty bad at everything, particularly pass blocking. Demar Dotson is reliable on the right side.

Given how that interior Broncos offensive line looks in pass blocking, and the ability of Grady Jarrett to eat souls alive in the middle, this one should favor the Falcons.

Advantage: Falcons

The skill positions

The Falcons corners have been improving, but none more than rookie A.J. Terrell. Despite fans hating him, Isaiah Oliver has slowly and steadily improved as well. If the team gets Darqueze Dennard back, the unit should be much better overall. Deion Jones has been improving after a very rough start and Foye Oluokun has been a really pleasant surprise in his third year. Keanu Neal has been really good lately while Ricardo Allen is just not performing to his previous standards. On whole, this unit has some promise but there are still a lot of flaws and holes.

Don’t let the recent hype fool you: Drew Lock is not a good QB. He’s ranked second to last by PFF this year. He has some interesting guys around him, though. Melvin Gordon is mostly getting the job done out of the backfield. Noah Fant looks much better in his second year at tight end. Rookie first round receiver Jerry Jeudy is doing decently while DaeSean Hamilton and K.J. Hamler are not particularly effective early on in their careers.

Until the entire Falcons secondary begins to consistently play well, we just can’t give them the benefit of the doubt. That said, this may be the least talented offense remaining for them to face. Too hard to call, so we’ll just leave it right there.

Advantage: Push


Maybe for the only time this year, I’m giving the Falcons and ever so slight edge, which undoubtedly means I will regret this on Sunday afternoon. Look for Grady to have a big game as he disrupts Drew Lock repeatedly. I have absolutely no faith in this prediction, but I guess this is what makes it a Falcons game.

Advantage: Falcons