We continue our “Falcons 50” countdown with a look at the biggest games of the 2016 for the Atlanta Falcons. You can follow along with the full countdown here.
Falcons five biggest games of 2016 #3: @ Denver Broncos, Week 5
Anytime the defending Super Bowl champions arrive on the schedule, it’s going to be a big game. The Falcons will travel to Mile High Stadium in Week 5 to take on a much-changed Denver Broncos team.
The Broncos won the Super Bowl on defense, as Cam Newton’s Panthers saw their incredible season halted by a Von Miller-inspired pass rush.
Miller got paid like a quarterback over the summer, but many of the other instrumental pieces on defense have departed. Malik Jackson swapped Denver for Jacksonville, while Danny Trevathan followed John Fox to Chicago.
How much of an impact will this have on the Denver defense? Predominantly Orange’s Tylor Walden still believes they can dominate.
"“With Von Miller around for six more years, I think this defense will be strong not only for this upcoming year, but perhaps for the next 2-4 years at best. Maybe even the entire six. It is tough to predict these things. But I have no doubt that the Broncos defense will be strong for some time.Players like Miller, Talib, Harris Jr., Roby, and the others… I have no doubt.”"
The Falcons offense will certainly have their hands full.
But it’s not so much the Denver defense that faces the biggest questions, it’s at quarterback. Peyton Manning decided to call it a day on his career, and his successor Brock Osweiler has also bolted.
Denver responded by bringing in free agent Mark Sanchez, as well as draft pick Paxton Lynch. Whether the Falcons are lining up against Sanchez or Lynch, they will feel they have a chance of keeping the Broncos offense in check.
But that hardly puts the game in Atlanta’s favor. The Broncos won the Super Bowl in spite of their poor quarterback play last year. Is their defense good enough to do the same again? That might ultimately determine how successful they are this season.
This Denver team is still stacked with talent, and they also have the luxury of playing at a venue particularly difficult for opposing teams.
The Falcons face a tough test at Denver just one week after meeting Seattle on the road. Get through this one, and Dan Quinn’s team will have made a major statement to the rest of the league.