Denver Broncos (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Monday, September 17th, 2012/8:30 p.m. EST
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Den +3/Atl. -3
Over/Under Total: 51
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After passing the first test with his surgically repaired neck now quarterback
Peyton Manning will lead the new-look Denver Broncos on
their first road game of the season, when the Broncos travel down to the
Georgia Dome for a week two NFL clash with the Atlanta Falcons
in primetime on ESPNs Monday Night Football.
Manning didnt look like a quarterback that sat out all of last season with neck problems, hitting 19-of-26 passing for 253 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Broncos to a tough, 31-19, victory over Pittsburgh last Sunday night. You could even argue he was in his old MVP form on both of the Broncos second-half scores, checking out of plays at the line of scrimmage to take advantage of coverage weaknesses on Demaryius Thomas 71 yard score and on the 1-yard toss to Jacob Tamme that gave the Broncos the lead for good in the final quarter.
But Denver will run into a Falcons squad that put together one of the best games of the week in all of the NFL on opening weekend in their, 40-24, victory on the road in Kansas City. Playing in front of a hostile crowd in Arrowhead, Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns and added a TD plunge on the ground as the Falcons pulled away in the third quarter with 17 straight unanswered points
With the Manning-vs.-Ryan duel set to be showcased in primetime on MNF the sportsbook oddsmakers out in Las Vegas decided to let the bettors decide the point spread, opening up the game with Atlanta as the standard 3-point favorites for being the home team. So far the ploy may have backfired, as the number has yet to show any line movement in either direction.
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The over/under total opened at 51 and has also yet to move in either direction since the numbers were released early on Monday.
Offensively these teams are much more than just Manning and Ryan, but both QBs are so important to getting their teams into the right plays at the line that most of the game plan falls on them anyway.
So much noise was made in the preseason about Atlantas new O-coordinator opening up the playbook to unshackle the offense and move away from the grind-it-out style of previous seasons, and after one week (only 84 yards rushing 3.6 ypc) it appears the Falcons just might be a high-powered at times. That means more touches for Julio Jones and Roddy White, but with Tracy Porter and Champ Bailey on the corners the Broncos can match the Falcons on the outside. The Falcons will need to get Michael Turner going in order to keep the Broncos pass rush (5 sacks vs. Pitt) from just teeing off and attacking Ryan upfield every play.
Denver will have similar issues getting Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno going on the ground to limit the pressure on Manning, but after allowing the Chiefs to rack up 152 yards rushing last week the Falcons might struggle to limit the damage. Atlantas defense did get three sacks and force three turnovers last week though, so if they stay opportunistic and create a few more miscues they could survive even if the bend but dont break. Atlanta did lose starting corner Brent Grimes for the season after Grimes torn his Achilles in the opener against the Chiefs, so you can expect Manning to pick on whomever his replacement ends up being on Monday.
These two havent met on the gridiron since 2008, in what turned into a 24-20 for the Broncos on the road in the Georgia Dome. But that Denver team had Jay Cutler at QB and Peyton Hillis at RB, so were really looking at apples and oranges in any comparisons. All told the Broncos have dominated the Falcons going 7-1 SU since 1985, with a solid 5-3 ATS record over the same eight-game span.
Most of the betting trends for this game are mediocre at best, but it does appear that at least one trend will be broken. Neither of these teams has played well under the hot lights of Monday Night, since Denver is 1-4 ATS in their last five primetime games and the Falcons are 1-5 ATS on MNF.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Denver will have some issues dealing with the crowd noise in the Georgia Dome, but an early lead can limit those issues. I expect Manning to find plenty of holes in the Falcons defense too, especially since they lost a starting corner last week and are thin to begin with in the secondary. Im taking Denver plus the 3-points.
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