Football is finally back with its annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. This game marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Preseason. This is a special season for the NFL as it is the 100th season, but also a special day for the late Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen. Bowlen, along with former cornerback Champ Bailey and tight end Tony Gonzalez will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
The Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos have a history that dates back to the 1970’s. These two teams have met just 15 times throughout the history of the NFL with Denver leading the series at 9-6. These two teams have met just once in the postseason during Super Bowl XXXIII in which the Denver Broncos, led by head coach Mike Shanahan, came out victorious, 34-19.
John Elway became the oldest player in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP until New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took that mantle in 2017. Elway and the Broncos took an early lead with a 17-3 score late in the second quarter. Atlanta attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, but a 13 point effort wasn’t enough to edge the Broncos.
Storylines to Watch
Denver’s Quarterback Situation
It’s already been made known that Broncos second-round pick Drew Lock will not get the start tonight and Joe Flacco will be sidelined. Kevin Hogan will get the start against Atlanta tonight and the quarterback carousel for the Broncos will continue its wild ride of hits and misses at quarterback.
Dirk Koetter’s Return
Dirk Koetter will make his second debut as the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator which could boast a big statistical season for quarterback Matt Ryan. With this just being a pre-season game, I wouldn’t expect too much from Ryan as he will most likely only play a series or two. The thing worth watching for is how Koetter uses the run game against a team that doesn’t share the same colors.
Dan Quinn Calling Defensive Plays
Atlanta’s head coach Dan Quinn will once again be calling the defensive plays this season. This stems from the Falcon’s unit ranking towards the bottom in total defense in 2018. Of course, that can be accounted for by the number of key injuries on that side of the ball. Quinn called the defensive plays last in the 2016 season as the Falcons made their push for the Super Bowl. This scenario looks to be one from Koetter’s book during his time in Tampa Bay. Either fix the defense yourself or possibly face being relieved of duties.
Head Coaching Debut
Newly-appointed head coach of the Denver Broncos will make his head coaching debut this evening. After waiting 40 years for his chance to lead a team, defensive-minded coach Vic Fangino will finally get a chance. The Broncos are in win-now mode with all the veteran talent they have on the team. The tall task for Fangino will be to get this offense running like a well-oiled machine to complement his defense in 2019.
How to Watch
Time: 8:00 pm E.T.
Date: August 1st, 2019
Location: Canton, Ohio