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Week 5 Preview – Falcons Offense Face Stiffest Test Yet In Broncos

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Following a 48-33 victory in week 3 against the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons travel to Denver on Sunday to face the Broncos. Despite turnover at some important positions, the Broncos look every bit as impressive as the team who dominated the Panthers in February’s Super Bowl, while the Falcons have ridden their offense to three straight victories, piling up points along the way.

Falcons News

In a midweek roster move, the Falcons released one veteran linebacker to make way for another. O’Brien Schofield is a free agent once more just weeks after resigning with the team. He has been replaced by former longtime Packer AJ Hawk, who will likely provide depth at the position following Sunday’s injury to Sean Weatherspoon.

Cornerback Jalen Collins returns following a 4-week suspension for performance enhancing substances. The second round draft pick from a year ago should play outside in the Falcons’ nickel package, allowing Robert Alford to work primarily against slot receivers. Alford is a natural playmaker, but he also has a propensity to give up big plays and penalties. He has the potential to be one of the best slot corners in the game.

Middle linebacker Deion Jones missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. With De’Vondre Campbell looking no closer to a return and the pairing of Sean Weatherspoon and Paul Worrilow on injured reserve, the Falcons’ linebacker corps, which was such a weakness for the team last year, could find themselves relying on Philip Wheeler and LaRoy Reynolds.

Going against the team that lead the league in sacks, the Falcons will be hoping that punter Matt Bosher’s hamstring can recover in time. Former Brown Michael Palardy was added to the practice squad during the week and will step in if required.

Broncos News

Few teams can lose their first two choices at quarterback without missing a step, but that’s exactly what the Broncos have done. Following the retirement of Peyton Manning and the departure of Brock Osweiler to Houston, they have started the season 4-0 and look like the dominant force in the AFC.

After winning the job from Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian has cut down on mistakes and taken the incredibly undervalued and often misunderstood role of “game manager” and made it his own. He knows that he has two wide receivers who can make plays, a running back at the top of his game and one of the best defenses in the league. Siemian keeps the ball moving and lets the Broncos’ superstars do their thing.

While Siemian has been playing well, the future of the franchise is likely to lie in the hands of former Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who the Broncos used a 1st round pick on in April’s draft. Lynch isn’t the finished product, but he possesses a strong arm and the athleticism to make plays with his feet. If the shoulder injury that Siemian sustained on Sunday against the Buccaneers hasn’t healed then Lynch will get his first NFL start.


A true battle of offense vs. defense as two elite units go head-to-head. The Falcons are unlikely to match or better their average of 38 points, but they should still be able to score points. Denver have struggled against the run and Devonta Freeman should see plenty of work, with Tevin Coleman potentially limited if the altitude and the presence of sickle cell trait cause him problems. The absence of Demarcus Ware should make the offensive line’s job easier, but the Falcons will be hoping that Matt Ryan can continue to spread the ball around, especially with Von Miller in potentially the best form of his career. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby, who make up arguably the best cornerback trio in the league, will be tasked with the unenviable job of slowing down Julio Jones, who is fresh off destroying the Panthers secondary.

The Atlanta defense played well against Carolina in the first three quarters on Sunday. They will be looking to provide more of the same against whoever is playing quarterback. The focus will likely be on stopping the run and forcing the Broncos to beat them in the air.