The Falcons offense is riding high after putting 40 points on the Chiefs defense but the defense is dealing with the loss of Brent Grimes for the season. In week two, the Falcons will take on a team that made the playoffs last season and also added a Hall of Fame quarterback to their team. This game takes place on Monday and as Falcons fans know, Monday night has not been kind to the Falcons over the years. Here are some basic things the Falcons need to do to win this game:
The Falcons must avoid Manning's insane touchdown celebrations
Get on the board early
In the Chiefs game, the Falcons jumped up early and rode the crest of that early success. On the flip side, the Broncos didn't score until mid-way through the second quarter in their game and didn't score their second TD until mid-way through the third. The Broncos offense is still learning how to play together, whereas the Falcons offense looked like a well oiled machine last week. With the loss of Brent Grimes in the secondary, the Falcons should look to get on the scoreboard early to put the Broncos offense out of the comfort zone. Seizing the lead early is important for the Falcons.
Make the Broncos one-dimensional
The Falcons need to completely take the run game away from the Broncos. Last week, Willis McGahee had had 64 yards on 16 carries for an average of 4 yards per carry. Against the Chiefs, the Falcons gave up 152 yards with one-third of those coming on one run by Jamal Charles. The Broncos strength is not running the football, but if they Falcons can take that away from the Broncos it will help them focus in on Manning and get after him in obvious passing downs.
Take care of business on third down
In week one, the Falcons let the Chiefs convert 11 of 16 third downs. That's not going to win many football games and it's not the kind of ratio that's going to be successful against the Broncos. The Falcons must do a better job of creating third and long and then getting off the field. The good news for the Falcons is that Steelers dominated time of possession last week so Peyton Manning and his offense are still feeling things out. Mike Nolan is in just his second game as defensive coordinator and despite the loss of Brent Grimes, the players should be getting more comfortable with their roles. Improvement on third down is mandatory if the Falcons want to come away from this one with a victory.