The Atlanta Falcons have started off the 2012 season with a bang. Last week the Dirty Birds opened up the season with a convincing 40-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in a hostile Arrowhead Stadium. As a native Georgian and die-hard sports fan, it was kind of weird seeing the Falcons on the road in a packed stadium full of the opponents’ fans doing tomahawk chop and chanting the song. It just wasn’t right. It was a good win, though.
Now, the next big step for the Falcons will be hosting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at the Georgia Dome in primetime on “Monday Night Football.”
All the hype will be surrounding the two quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning as they battle it out to see who is better at orchestrating the no-huddle offense. I’m looking for the Falcons to make a statement as they play their first home game of the season. Last year they averaged 30 points per game at home during the regular season and I expect much of the same on Monday night. The tandem of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White put on a show last week in Kansas City, so I’m hoping for the same on Monday night.
Overall, this game should be a treat to watch for football fans. You have two explosive offenses led by great quarterbacks. It’s been said that the younger Matt Ryan has studied film of the now 36-year-old Manning back in his heyday in Indianapolis and how he mastered the no-huddle offense. There’s no doubt that this game is going to be an offensive showdown, and with that being said, the deciding factor in the game will be the team with the best defense.
Speaking of defense, with last week’s season ending Achilles injury to Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes, the task may be a bit more challenging for the Falcons. I do however expect Asante Samuel to step it up and take charge of the Falcons’ secondary and possibly even get a few picks in the process. Veteran linebacker John Abraham should have a great game as well and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his hands on Manning a time or two.
As for my predictions, I think the game is going to be epic. It’s going to be a high scoring game with multiple lead changes. It’s a good possibility that the game may even go into overtime. Overall I think the Falcons have too many offensive weapons in their star receivers. Add that plus veteran tight end in Tony Gonzales and running back Michael Turner to the equation. I also think the Falcons have the advantage of being at home on a Monday night in a rowdy Georgia Dome where they are 26-4 under Matt Ryan. All this may prove to be too much for the Broncos despite the experience of Manning.
Falcons all the way baby!