MNF heads to Atlanta
September 17, 2012
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DENVER BRONCOS (1-0) at ATLANTA FALCONS (1-0)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Atlanta -3 & 52.5
Opening Line & Total: Falcons -3 (-120) & 49.5
Two high-flying offenses look to continue their air attacks for another week when the Broncos visit the Falcons on Monday night.
Peyton Manning makes his first road start as Denver's quarterback, but the bigger change among these teams seems to be Atlanta's offensive philosophy. In Week 1, the Falcons jumped all over the Chiefs in K.C. with an aggressive downfield passing attack. QB Matt Ryan threw for 299 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT with a 136.4 passer rating. Atlanta did have some issues though, as it allowed 152 rushing yards to the Chiefs and lost top CB Brent Grimes to a season-ending injury.
The Broncos are coming off a game in which Manning utilized a no-huddle offense to come back and beat the Steelers. The pick here is to back the Falcons coming off a high scoring first-week win in Kansas City. Peyton Manning played well in his Broncos debut last week, but expect Atlanta to win the same type of game that Denver just won, by pulling away late in the second half. Also, favorites in non-conference games, off a road win, are 82-44 ATS (65%) over the past 10 seasons.
Monday will be Peyton Manning's only indoor game of 2012, a climate in which he has been tremendous in his career. In 111 dome games, Manning has averaged 262 passing YPG with 230 TD and just 97 INT. He has also cleaned up on NFC South opponents in his career, going 7-1 with 2,351 passing yards (8.9 YPA), 24 TD and 4 INT. Manning did a great job spreading the wealth last Sunday night, as WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Eric Decker and TE Jacob Tamme caught five passes each.
The running game had its moments against Pittsburgh's top-ranked yardage and scoring defense from a year ago, grinding out 94 yards on 27 carries (3.5 YPC). Defensively, Denver's run-stop unit stifled the Steelers (75 yards on 26 carries), and should be able to handle Atlanta's less-than-stellar ground game.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed multiple passes to five different receivers in Week 1, connecting with WR Julio Jones for two of his touchdowns and finding TE Tony Gonzalez for the other score. None of the running backs could get anything going, as Michael Turner (11 rush, 32 yds), Jacquizz Rodgers (7 rush, 22 yds) and Jason Snelling (2 rush, 5 yds) were all bottled up against the Chiefs.
Atlanta's defense also showed some holes, allowing 393 total yards (241 passing, 152 rushing) despite forcing three turnovers.
Since 1994, the Falcons have lost five of six meetings (3-3 ATS), including Super Bowl XXXIII following the 1998 season.