Week 1: Atlanta Falcons At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackMatt Ryan can move around the pocket well, throw the ball accurately and help lead his team to important regular-season victories. However, he has yet to win a game in the postseason and there will be questions about him until he can.Matt Cassel is an accurate passer, has excellent intangibles and is respected in the locker room. However, he takes a lot of abuse and he missed the final seven games with a broken hand last year.
- OffenseThe Falcons have a balanced offense with Michael Turner providing the bulk of the carries. However, the offensive line did not block as well for him last year as it had in the past. Roddy White and Julio Jones enhance Ryan’s talent.The Chiefs have a productive running game with explosive Jamaal Charles and versatile Peyton Hillis. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is a big-play performer capable of making the spectacular catch when the game is on the line.
- DefenseThe Falcons have been solid against the run, but Mike Nolan’s goal will be to improve the pass rush and the pass coverage. John Abraham still posts big sack numbers but he is an in-and-out performer at this point. Speedy Kroy Bierman can also rush the passer.The Chiefs will run the 3-4 defense and they have the dominant linebackers to execute it. Outside linebacker Tamba Hali has become one of the AFC’s best pass rushers while Derrick Johnson wears out opposing offenses with his hard hitting.
- Special TeamsMatt Bryant doesn’t have the strongest leg in the NFL, but if you give him a field goal of 40 yards or less he’s not going to miss. Matt Bosher is an accurate punter who can also kick off for the Falcons.Special teams could be a big advantage for the Chiefs. Ryan Succop rarely misses any field goal and punter Dustin Colquitt knows how to pin opponents deep. Returners Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas both have game-breaking speed.
The Chiefs may be one of the surprise teams in the league. While they don’t appear to be overwhelmingly strong, they don’t have any severe weaknesses. Look for Romeo Crennel to get off to a good start at home.