Well it’s the second week of the new NFL season, and there are surely going to be some fascinating stories that unfold. However, one of the most intriguing will be what Peyton Manning and the Broncos do for an encore after that virtuoso performance at home against the Steelers. Matt Ryan and the Falcons are no offensive push overs, but should Manning continue to run the Denver offense with the same efficiency, command, and smarts that he did last week, well this should be a high-scoring, exciting game. And in fact, it was in our sim. Both Atlanta and Denver lit up the scoreboard, although the Falcons were a little slow getting into rhythm, which gave the Broncos all the edge they needed. Here’s how it all unfolded in this week’s WWMD Madden NFL 13 simulation:
Broncos 41, Falcons 23 -
1st Quarter - The Falcons began with the ball, but they didn’t hold onto it long, as on the second play the Denver D picked off Matt Ryan and ran it back for a TD. However, the Falcons got that right back with a 75 yard pass to Douglas for a TD, and so with just 30 seconds of the game played and only three plays having been run, fourteen points were already on the board. Manning, however, came out and took control of things on Denver’s first offensive possession. Running a nice, methodical drive with a good mix of pass and run, Denver took the rest of the quarter to get down the field and started the early part of the second with a 1 yard TD run by McGahee.
2nd Quarter: After getting their first offensive touchdown, Denver’s defense shut down Atlanta’s deep ball and forced them to punt, and on their ensuing possession, the Broncos put together another nice long, methodical drive that was capped with a 10 yard TD pass to Dreessen.
The Falcons once again tried to even thing up quickly, but on a deep pass to Jones, Champ Bailey jumped the route and made an interception at the ten yard line, and the Broncos were content to run out the rest of the time in the first half.
3rd Quarter: Denver started off with the ball for the second half, but once the reached about mid-field, Manning made an admittedly terrible pass that was picked off by the Falcons. Atlanta, however, couldn’t get much done, and had to punt. The Broncos made their way down field, but eventually their drive stalled and they had to settle for a 29 yard field goal. The Falcons once again had trouble getting anything going, and the third quarter ended with them punting the ball to the Broncos.
4th Quarter: Both teams exploded in the fourth. Denver got things started with a drive that ended with a 5 yard pass to Tamme for a TD. The Falcons responded with a 51 yard pass to Jones who caught it around mid-field and just used his speed to get pass the defense for the score. The Falcons converted for two-points, but failed to get the onsides kick. The Broncos stayed ahead by scoring a TD of their own on a 12 yard pass to Thomas. But then the Falcons came right back on a 66 yard, one-handed grab by Jones, and they once again converted for two-points.
However, time was against them, and failing to get the onsides kick once again, Denver ran out the rest of the clock and ended the game with a 38 yard field goal to seal the deal.
Peyton Manning was once again solid, completing 20 of 32 passes for 236 yards, 3 TDs and one ugly INT. Ryan was also pretty darn good, with 14 of 23 for 256 yards for 3 TDs and 2 INTs. McGahee helped out the Broncos quite a bit on the ground with 23 carries for 79 yards and a TD, while Dreesen and Thomas both came away with six catches for 65 yards and 69 yards respectively and a TD for each of them. Jones, meanwhile, only had two catches, but get a load of this, they were both TDs and he had 117 yards from those two catches. The main problem for the Falcons was their offense basically took the most of the second and all of the third quarter off. If they misfire that badly for real, and if the real Manning continues to look anywhere near as efficient and dangerous as his Madden NFL 13 virtual counterpart, the Broncos just may be a force to be reckoned with this season. How accurate do you think this prediction is? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.