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Monday Night a New Challenge

Posted Sep 16, 2012

The Broncos' first road test comes against an electric offensive attack on Monday Night Football.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos got off to a fast start with last week’s victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. In Week 2, they look to follow it up in a Monday night showdown against the Atlanta Falcons – a game that will challenge the team in numerous ways.

“It’ll be a great atmosphere in Atlanta,” quarterback Peyton Manning said. “Being our first road game this season, the first road game for me with this team – I think it’ll be a tough test.”

While several Broncos will be playing near their hometowns in Atlanta, the expected crowd of more than 70,000 will not be in their favor.

Throughout the week, the team has used artificial crowd noise to try to simulate the conditions on Monday night. The goal for Falcons fans in attendance at the Monday night game will be to make it difficult for Manning to communicate with the offensive unit.

“It’s just a loud place to play and I think communication’s important, trying to be on the same page, not having one guy running one play and one guy running another,” Manning said. “Practicing with the crowd noise, it gets you ready as good as it can. It’s hard to simulate 80,000 people in the stands. I think communication will be important this week.”

Although the defense won’t have to contend with the noise factor, it will be facing an explosive offensive attack that scored on its first eight possessions in Week 1, finishing with 40 points.

With a former Pro Bowler at quarterback, running back, tight end and wide receiver, the Falcons have weapons that their QB Matt Ryan “knows how to take advantage of," Manning said.

One of Atlanta's skill players that hasn't been to a Pro Bowl might pose the biggest problem to the Denver defense. Second-year wideout Julio Jones led the team in receiving in Week 1 with 108 yards and two touchdowns. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Jones will warrant plenty of extra attention from defenses throughout the year.

The Falcons’ other wideout has also been known to terrorize defenses. Roddy White has five straight seasons of 1,000-plus yards receiving.

“(They’re) as good as they come,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “We’re going to see a lot of great tandems, but (White and Jones) are emerging to be one of the best. All I see is growth from Julio Jones from last year. He’s like night and day.”

Denver’s front seven will be tasked with containing running back Michael Turner and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Turner was quiet in Week 1 but the bruising 244-pound back has gone over 1,300 rushing yards in each of the last two seasons and is always a concern for the defense.

Gonzalez needs no introduction. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard said that the 11-time Pro Bowler will be a tough matchup throughout the evening.

“We have to make sure we know exactly what he’s going to do and what his plan is out there on the field,” Woodyard said.

The Broncos faced an elite quarterback with speedy wide receivers in Week 1. Week 2’s opponent has those traits in addition to more than 70,000 boisterous fans on its side – with some added juice for Monday Night Football.

The Broncos passed their first test in Week 1. This week will be a whole different type of test.

“(Being) able to win on the road in hostile environments, that puts you on another level, definitely," linebacker Joe Mays said. "We try to go on the road and be road warriors. We’re definitely going to try to go in there and get a win, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough sledding. But I think we’re built for it, I think we’re ready for it."

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