Dirty Bird Report: Butting Heads with the West

Impressive in picking up a season-opening victory in a tough place to play, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, the Atlanta Falcons continue a run of three straight games to open this season vs. the AFC West when they head out to sunny San Diego Sunday to play the 2-0 Chargers.

Before that, though, Atlanta was going to have its hands full with a Monday night home game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Week 1 Review

Atlanta led almost the whole way at KC opening weekend, although only by three at the half, before pulling away for a 40-24 victory. The Falcons actually got outrushed by the Chiefs 152-84, but QB Matt Ryan picked up the slack, hitting on 23 of 31 throws for 299 yards and three scores, and the defense forced three KC turnovers.

Atlanta also did good by those who included it among their Week 1 NFL picks, covering the spread as one-point road favorites.

Week 3 Preview

After hosting the Broncos Monday night the Falcons were slated for a short week of practice before flying cross-country for what should be a fun game with San Diego.

The Chargers are off to their first 2-0 start since 2006, winning at Oakland last Monday night, then coming home and pounding the Tennessee Titans Sunday 38-10. The Bolts jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the Titans and cruised home from there.

San Diego showed improvement Sunday in a key area; after settling for three very short field goals vs. the Raiders, the Chargers made several plays in the red zone vs. Tennessee, getting their first two scores on short Philip Rivers TD passes. If San Diego can continue to turn short field-goal attempts into touchdowns, it will be hard to beat.

For the Bettors Out There

Not only have the Falcons experienced success unlike ever before in franchise history with Ryan at quarterback, their financial backers have benefited, too. Atlanta is now 44-19 straight-up and 38-23 against-the-spread when Ryan starts at QB.

The Falcons may have to travel cross-country for what should be a tough road game in San Diego, but according to their recent track record the trip shouldn’t faze them. Since Coach Smith and Ryan arrived back in 2008 Atlanta is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS playing on the West Coast.

Looking Ahead

By getting two road games out of the way early on the Falcons’ schedule sets up for what should be a very good start to this season. After the Chargers game Atlanta hosts Carolina, visits the Redskins (who just lost to the Rams) and hosts the Raiders, then goes on its bye week. It’s fully conceivable the Falcons could be 6-0 or at least 5-1 before they hit a tough stretch after their off-week, with consecutive games against the Eagles, Cowboys and Saints.

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