On Monday Night Football, the Falcons will take on a Broncos team with individuals that are key players, as well as leadership the Falcons staff is familiar with. The Falcons also have players with extensive experience against key Broncos.
Peyton Manning was in Indianapolis for twelve years, a team in the AFC South. From 2003-2007, Falcons head coach Mike Smith was the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville, another AFC South team that faced the Colts two times every year. The Jaguars never had the greatest defense in the world, and didn’t win too many games, but never surrendered thirty or more points to Peyton Manning in his prime. That’s pretty impressive.
Another coaching connection in Bronco defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. He was the head coach in Jacksonville from 2003 until 2007, and Mike Smith was his defensive coordinator. If there was ever a reason to believe that a former coordinator might have a clue what his former head coach likes to do defensively, this would be it. It may not help the Falcons much in the long run, but there is certainly familiarity there.
The Falcons also acquired Asante Samuel in the offseason, and there are few defensive backs in the world who have faced Manning as often or on the big stages that Samuel has. According to this article, Samuel has faced Manning eleven times, totaling eleven passes defended, as well as three interceptions. Samuel has studied Manning for years, and knows him pretty well. I’m not sure who Samuel will matchup with against the Broncos, but you better believe he will be ready to make plays on the ball all night long.