Atlanta (3-1) at Denver (4-0)
When: Sunday, October 9th 2016
Where: Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO
Time: 4:05 ET | TV: FOX
The red-hot Atlanta Falcons offense will get a big test on Sunday when they travel to Denver to face the Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Falcons are the only team in the NFL averaging over 400 yards of total offense per game (478.8) and are averaging seven more points per game (38.0) than the second place team (Philadelphia). Atlanta hung 48 points on the Carolina Panthers last week, who opposed Denver in last year’s Super Bowl. Quarterback Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones are clicking after last week’s record setting performances. Ryan threw for 503 yards and four scores while Jones caught 12 passes for 300 yards including a 75-yard TD. Jones became the sixth receiver in history to have 300 yards receiving and currently has three straight 100-yard games against AFC opponents. The Falcons are also getting strong production from the backfield tandem of Devonta Freeman (322 yards) and Tevin Coleman (4 TDs). The offense is well and good but the defense still has major issues, allowing 31 points and 419.3 yards per game. Atlanta allowed 28 points to Oakland a few weeks ago and that was their best defensive game of the season. It won’t get any easier after today as the Falcons travel to Seattle next week.
The Broncos are now the only undefeated team left in the AFC and are establishing themselves as one of the favorites to get back to the Super Bowl again despite having minimal experience at quarterback. 2015 seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian, who had to come out of last week’s win at Tampa Bay with a left shoulder injury, has efficiently led this offense to a 4-0 start. Rookie Paxton Lynch, the No. 26 overall pick, finished last week’s game by going 14 of 24 for 170 yards and a touchdown. As of Saturday afternoon, Siemian was listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest. Running back C.J. Anderson has struggled in the last two games, averaging 2.6 yards per carry in each, but WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have picked up the slack by combining for 29 catches and five touchdowns in the two games. The Broncos pass defense is ranked second in the league while they top the NFL with 17 sacks, led by Von Miller’s NFL-best 5.5 and Derek Wolfe’s 4.0. Denver will have short rest after this game as they head to San Diego for a Thursday night clash.
I can’t see Atlanta continuing this offensive dominance in Denver this week. The Broncos might not have the best overall defensive numbers in the league after four weeks, but in my opinion, they are the best. Lynch seemed very comfortable running the offense after Siemian went down, so I’m not worried about who will start against this leaky Atlanta defense. Denver rolls.
Pick: Broncos -5