Monday Night Football pits the visiting Denver Broncos against the Atlanta Falcons tonight. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 pm EST start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have the Falcons favored by a field goal.
Both teams enter tonight's contest with a 1-0 record having picked up victories in the opening week of the season. Denver knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers at home last week while the Atlanta Falcons punked the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. Both will be looking to move to 2-0 on the season tonight. Each team also covered the point spread in their openers.
This is going to be Peyton Manning's first road game as a member of the Broncos and their going into a tough place to play as Matt Ryan doesn't lose at home. The Falcons threw for 299 yards last week and logged three touchdowns. Denver got a big win last week at home, but struggled to run the football with only 94 yards on the ground. But then again, this was a run-first club last year before Manning arrived. Not sure how much the Broncos will run the ball now that he is calling the shots. They might run the ball tonight, however, as Atlanta gave up more than 150 yards on the ground to KC last week.
Manning's patented no-huddle offense could be something to watch tonight. Denver was able to pass for 240 yards last week, but did get 9.2 yards per play in that category. Denver ended up even in the turnover department last week while Atlanta got two picks and recovered a fumble in their win.
Ryan and the Falcons don't lose at home. Atlanta is riding a 26-5 record at home under Ryan and the team has covered the number going 20-10-1 overall. However, they have struggled on Monday Night Football overall, winning just five of their last 23 MNF games. They've also lost their last six games on the big stage of Monday night.
Michael Turner struggled in last week's game on the ground, rolling up a putrid 32 yards on 11 carries overall. Atlanta had just 84 yards overall on the ground as a team. Facing a pretty good Denver defense, the Falcons are going to have to be more balanced in tonight's game. We have a battle of two teams that like to throw the ball downfield but also have the ability to run the football. I think the team that is successful at getting a good running game going is going to be the team that wins in this one.
Free Pick: We like Denver. Manning played indoors forever while in Indy, so playing on the road in a dome probably isn't going to mess with him that much. Historically, the Falcons have struggled bigtime on Monday Night Football so that should come into play. We think these teams are pretty even overall with two good defenses as well. The running game is going to be key. Denver 24, Atlanta 21
NFL Free Picks: Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons Betting
What pro football bettors need to know about Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons on Monday (9/17/12) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Marco D'Angelo, with Vegas Runner and Bryan Leonard.