Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/17/12

Tonight should prove to be an exciting game when the Broncos roll into Atlanta to take on the Falcons.  Both of these teams had promising starts in week 1 and handled their opponents rather easily. 

Peyton Manning became the "Manning of Old" around the Broncos third or fourth drive last week, speeding up to the line and running a no huddle offense to perfection.  He has a lot of weapons on the outside, and the running game will be better than week one.  Remember, they were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers who are always very stout against the rush.  They were able to rush for 78 yards on 18 carries, and I expect that number to be better tonight against the Falcons.  Peyton Manning was solid, going 19 of 26 for 253 yards and 2 scores.  I find it hard to believe that the so-called "experts" were not even considering the Broncos to win this division.  Everyone was on Kansas City and some people were even on Oakland.  Those are probably the two worst teams in the league right now after two weeks of play.  The Broncos won the division last year without Manning, so why would they take a step back? 

Atlanta is in a very tough division, but I expect them to win the South like I predicted at the beginning of the season.  Matt Ryan looked flawless last week (granted it was against the Chiefs) and Roddy White and Julio Jones may be the best WR tandem in football.  Jones is younger, faster, and may be a better receiver than Roddy right now, so this is going to be a dangerous group all year. Matt Ryan was 23 of 31 for 299 yards and 3 TD's last week, completing six passes each to White and Jones.  It's going to take double coverage to stop both of these guys, so look for Michael Turner to take advantage of this when the Broncos have to pull guys out of the box and play nickel and dime packages most of the night.

I fully expect this to be a shootout tonight with each quarterback going over 300 yards.  The Falcons D gave up nearly 400 yards of offense to a very bad Chiefs team, so look for Manning to have a huge game through the air.  Willis McGahee should be able to run through a leaky defensive front that gave up 152 yards rushing last weekend.  I like the Falcons ability to score points, but at some point they will have to play defense to win games.  I don't think they have it figured out yet and will have no answer for Peyton and his crew.

Final Score: Broncos 30 Falcons 24 



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