Week 9 Preview: Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falconsby Jacob Dunne November 6, 2020 1 comment
Week 9 finds us at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to see the Denver Broncos take on the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons (2-6) are coming off an upset win against the Carolina Panthers while the Broncos (3-4) are coming in fresh off a last-second 31-30 upset victory at home over the Los Angeles Chargers.
After three miserable quarters, the Broncos offense came alive in the fourth quarter to complete their comeback victory over the Chargers. Drew Lock completed 26-41 passes (63.4 completion percentage) for 248 yards and a season-high three touchdowns versus one interception. Phillip Lindsay scored the Broncos’ first touchdown with 6:05 left in the third quarter after he broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run. DaeSean Hamilton filled in admirably for Tim Patrick (hamstring) with 82 yards and a touchdown. Jerry Jeudy turned a season-high 10 targets into four catches for 73 yards. On the other side of the ball, Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed had one sack apiece. Justin Simmons and Bryce Callahan both picked off Justin Herbert. Kareem Jackson, Josey Jewell, and Alexander Johnson all had 10-plus tackles each (32 total).
The Broncos will need to slow down future Hall of Famer Julio Jones if they want a shot at pulling off the upset this week. With Calvin Ridley questionable to play, expect Matt Ryan to look Jones’ way early and often. With A.J. Bouye entering the league’s concussion protocol, it could be up to Broncos’ rookie cornerback Michael Ojemudia to slow Jones down. Lock will need to carry his Week 8 momentum into this game and look for his playmakers to move the ball.
Ryan passed for 281 scoreless yards and one interception last week against the Panthers. He also added 27 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. Todd Gurley had 18 carries for just 46 yards (2.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Julio led the team with seven catches for 137 yards, which was 83 yards more than the second-leading receiver Hayden Hurst. Ridley had three catches for 42 yards before going down with a mild ankle sprain in the second quarter. On the other side of the ball, Deion Jones, Isaiah Oliver, and Dante Fowler Jr. had one sack apiece. Blidi Wreh-Wilson ended the game by picking off Teddy Bridgewater with 1:04 left in the game.
If the Falcons want to hold off the Broncos and secure the victory at home, they will need to shut down the Broncos’ rushing attack and force Lock to make plays. Atlanta is only allowing 99.2 rushing yards per game, which is good for sixth in the NFL. They will need to continue their run-stopping dominance if they want to ensure their victory. Lindsay leads all running backs with 6.4 yards per rush attempt. It’ll be up to Takkarist McKinley, Grady Jarrett, and Fowler to slow him down. On the offensive side of the ball, Ryan will need to force-feed the ball to Jones. Expect Jones to take advantage of an inexperienced secondary and record his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season.
Date: November 8, 2020
Start time: 1:00 P.M. EST
Location: Atlanta, GA
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Points Spread: DEN +3.5 (-110) | ATL -3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: DEN +165 | ATL -205
Over/Under: O 50 (-110) | U 50 (-110)
Vegas is giving a slight edge to the home team here. The line has been holding steady at 3.5 points since it opened. This should be a high-scoring affair with Atlanta giving up 28 points per game versus Denver’s 26.1. Both teams are riding high after pulling off upset victories in Week 8, so this promises to be an entertaining game. Expect Lock to carry over the momentum from Week 8 and upset the Falcons this week in Atlanta.
Lock comes out firing to start the game and connects with Jeudy on a 30-yard crossing route to score the game’s first touchdown. Ryan answers back and sets up Gurley for a one-yard touchdown to even up the score. The Broncos carry a 13-10 lead heading into halftime. Coming out of the break, Younghoe Koo kicks a 48-yard field goal to even up the score at 13. After exchanging touchdowns, the Falcons take their first lead of the game after Koo connects on a 34-yard field goal. With 3:41 remaining in the game, Lock leads his team downfield completing multiple passes to Melvin Gordon and Fant. He ends the drive by finding Albert Okwuegbunam in the back of the end zone to take a 27-23 lead with 1:01 remaining. Ryan leads his team downfield but gets picked off by Simmons to seal the Broncos victory.
Final Score: Broncos 27, Falcons 23
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