Who wins today? The Falcons have their easiest on-paper matchup remaining in 2020 against the Denver Broncos at home, so we’re feeling more confident than we’re used to, and possibly than is warranted.
Check out our predictions below and share yours!
This is way too confident, I know. The Falcons are without Takk McKinley and Dante Fowler, potentially damaging the pass rush, and may well be without Calvin Ridley. The loss of Ridley would have an obvious impact on the passing game, with a heavy dose of Christian Blake not being quite the same thing as Ridley.
For all that, I’m feeling good about this one. Drew Lock has quietly been one of the worst quarterbacks in football, Atlanta’s stout run defense should at least help keep Denver’s ground game in check, and the Broncos defense is not so good that a Falcons team playing at a reasonably high level will falter. There are so many things that can go wrong every week with this football team—scoring fewer points than this is the likeliest—but this is probably the last week where I’m going to have this level of confidence in the team going into the week. - Dave Choate
Falcons 17 - Broncos 14
This one has the potential to be a very frustrating game for both teams. The Broncos have some talent on their defense and the potential of Bradley Chubb terrorizing our offensive line has me nervous. While they will be missing A.J. Bouye, Atlanta may be missing Calvin Ridley. While the Falcons have the potential to put up points, any decent defense - which Denver has - seems to stymie Dirk Koetter.
Even still, Drew Lock is terri-bad and their offensive weapons don’t particularly scare me. The Atlanta defense should look better than they are and that will ultimately net the win. - David Walker
Falcons 30 - Broncos 24
Both of these teams need a win. The Broncos need to get back to .500 to remain in the AFC’s playoff picture. And the Falcons need a win if they want to salvage a season they’ve all but thrown away anyway.
The Falcons go into this game with both Takk McKinley and Dante Fowler sidelined, which doesn’t bode well for the pass rush, at least in theory. But let’s be honest, aside from the pressure Grady Jarrett generates inside, the Falcons defense can’t usually be counted on to generate pressure anyway. I see Matt Ryan continuing to have success with the passing attack, even if Calvin Ridley can’t go. With the return of Darqueze Dennard from IR, I also see the defense doing just enough to allow the Falcons to eek out another win, taking them to 3-1 since Dan Quinn’s departure. - James Rael
Falcons 26 - Broncos 24
What Falcons team shows up today? The one that is borderline competent or that one that is an unmitigated disaster? The Falcons are without both of their theoretical edge rushers (combined for 3.0 sacks) against Drew Lock, a player known almost entirely for occasionally rapping on the sideline. This is the type of player the Falcons typically lay down for. It will put a lot of pressure on Dirk Koetter who remains unable to produce an effective run game.
For the record, I picked the Falcons to win, but the loss of Calvin Ridley (particularly in the red zone) is a huge problem. It shouldn’t be, but when Ridley goes out, the offense has refused to pivot heavily towards playmakers like Hayden Hurst and Russell Gage or incorporate Todd Gurley into the passing game. Instead, Koetter dials up a confusing array of targets to Luke Stocker, Olamide Zaccheaus, Brandon Powell and Christian Blake. I’m not sure if Koetter can adjust enough to pull out the win, however, the Broncos are short two starting corners. I think that should give the edge to the Falcons in spite of Koetter. - Matt Chambers