Atlanta Falcons Tabbed As Favorites Over Kansas City Chiefs In 2010 NFL Pre-Season Week One

August 10th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

The Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs face off in Week One of the 2010 NFL Pre-Season, as both will look to make the post-season after failing to do so a year ago.

The Falcons finished over .500 for back-to-back seasons for the first time in the history of the organization.  Despite that accomplishment, Atlanta did not make the playoffs coming out of the NFC South division, tabbing a 9-7 record and finishing four games behind division-winner New Orleans.

On the other side of the ball the Chiefs won just four games last year, and had to go back to the drawing board to figure out new schemes and personnel.

Oddsmakers have set the Falcons as three-point favorites to defeat the Chiefs, with the over/under resting at 34 points according to USA Online Sportsbooks.

Atlanta Offense Vs. Kansas City Defense-

The Falcon offense begins with Matt Ryan, who enters his third season at the helm of the of offense.  Ryan has stated that he has grasped the offense better than eve before heading into the 2010 NFL Season, and and cannot wait to tackle  the challenges of the Atlanta Falcons 2010 NFL Schedule.

Running back Michael Turner did not put up the numbers expected out of him last season, but comes into this year with a renewed determination and several pounds lighter.  The Falcons have a solid trio of running backs that give the offense different styles. Look for the Falcons to incorporate Jarius Norwood and Jason Snelling in addition to Turner for several series before pulling the starters and giving others a chance to make the team.

Through the air, Turner will throw to Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, as well a Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez. Douglas is coming off an injury-plagued 2009 season and Atlanta expects big things from this young player.

Defensively, the chiefs will get a good sense of where they are at in the first couple of series, going up against the Falcon starters in Ryan and Turner.  Kansas City drafted safety Eric Berry out of Tennessee high in the first round, knowing the secondary was a weak point.

The Chiefs ranked 30th in the league in total defense, most notably weak against the run. Look for Atlanta to try and exploit the run defense, and then go over the top with play-action.

Kansas City Offense Vs. Atlanta Defense-

Matt Cassel leads the way for the Chief offense in 2010, as the organization will look to get more out of him this season. Last year, the team ranked 25th in the NFL in passing, at 183 yards per game.  The Chiefs will try and get Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones going on the ground against the Atlanta defense.

The Falcons run a 4-3 base scheme with 2009 first round pick Peria Jerry anchoring the line with John Abraham on the end.  At linebacker, the Falcons are solid with Mike Peterson and rookie Sean Witherspoon likely to see a lot of playing time in this one to try and earn a starting spot.

Atlanta was weak against the pass, ranking 28th in 2009, so they brought in defensive back Dunta Robinson from Houston and safety Matt Giordano from Green Bay.

Special Teams-

The Falcons will put Douglas at the kick off return position, as he possesses speed and explosiveness to get the team in good field position to bring out the offense. Kicker Matt Bryant is a solid veteran, who went 7 for 10 last season after being the replacement for Matt Elam.

The Chiefs will showcase rookie Javier Arenas out of Alabama to return kicks for the team.  Arenas shined in college and Kansas City expects a bright future for this young player.

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