NFL Preseason 2019 Live: The traditional curtain-raiser of the NFL preseason precedes the Class of 2019 enshrinement ceremony, which will take place on Saturday in Canton, Ohio. if any – are expected to play in the game, and any starter does play, it will be very limited, probably a series. However, Denver running back Royce Freeman and linebacker Justin Hollins, both former Oregon Ducks’ stars, could see some reps during the game.
An acclaimed sportswriter whose work appears in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has reported from seven Super Bowls. Now a SportsLine expert, Tierney was all over the Patriots in the 2019 Super Bowl, enabling him to finish the season with a sparkling 63-46 record against the spread. Anyone who has followed him is way, way up.
The Falcons ranked 25th defensively last season and it will be intriguing to see what, if any, impact Quinn will have on that side of the ball. Aside from shouldering additional duties, he will be hoping his team has better luck this season. Last year the Falcons were ravaged by injuries, losing seven starters.
The Broncos also missed out on the postseason, losing the last four games of the regular campaign to finish in third place in the AFC West with a 6-10 record. After missing out on the playoffs in both of his seasons in charge, Vance Joseph was replaced as head coach by Vic Fangio, who spent the last seven years as defensive coordinator in San Francisco and Chicago.
During his last season in the Windy City, Fangio helped the Bears develop the best defense in the league. A similar impact will be needed in Denver. The Broncos had the league’s best defense in 2017, before plummeting to 22ndlast season. Aside from a new head coach, the Broncos also have a brand new quarterback in Joe Flacco. The former Baltimore Ravens played just nine regular-season games before losing his place to Lamar Jackson last season, throwing for 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Quinn knows what he has in a passing game led by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. Ryan will sit out on Thursday, just like Flacco, but Quinn is brimming with anticipation to see his explosive group of running backs perform. Devonta Freeman looks like his old self after a groin injury doomed his 2018 season. Behind him, the Falcons want to get a long look at Ito Smith (four touchdowns last season), dynamic rookie Qadree Ollison, Kenjon Barner, and training camp standout Brian Hill. “That’s a lot of weapons at running back,” Quinn told reporters.
The Falcons haven’t played in the Hall of Fame game in 25 years and are looking to get back to the postseason after falling short last year for the first time since 2015. Despite ending the season on a three-game winning run, the Falcons finished 7-9 and had to settle for second place in the NFC South behind the New Orleans Saints.
The Falcons drafted two offensive linemen in the first round — guard Chris Lindstrom and tackle Kaleb McGary — and they’ll get extended snaps. Atlanta wants to re-establish its running game after averaging just 98.3 yards last season, which ranked 27th, so look for the Falcons to pound the ball behind their upgraded O-line.
The Vic Fangio era begins on Thursday when the Denver Broncos play the Atlanta Falcons in the 2019 NFL Hall of Fame Game. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Denver hired Fangio, a longtime defensive coordinator who spent the past four seasons with the Bears, to replace Vance Joseph, who went 11-21 in two seasons as the Broncos’ head coach. Atlanta has high expectations in Dan Quinn’s fifth season, with the Falcons looking to return to the playoffs for the third time in fourth years. Bookmakers list Denver as a 2.5-point favorite in the latest Broncos vs. Falcons odds, with the over-under for total points set at 34. Before you make any Broncos vs. Falcons picks or 2019 Hall of Fame Game predictions, see what renowned NFL expert Mike Tierney has to say.