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The Denver Broncos are starting to turn their season around at the right time, rebounding from an 0-3 start to win three of their last four games. All of a sudden there are playoff aspirations in Denver, with an opportunity to hit the .500 mark before the Broncos hit the tough part of their schedule. The Atlanta Falcons will not be a pushover, coming off 10 days rest after a road victory against the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta has won two of its last three games since firing Dan Quinn. The Falcons will be a tough out as they sport the second-ranked pass offense that has put up over 300 yards in two of the past three contests. 

Will the Falcons be able to score against a Broncos defense that has given up 30-plus points in consecutive contests? Can the Broncos hit the .500 mark for the first time in the Vic Fangio era? We’ll find out soon, but here’s everything you need to know for this interconference showdown. 

How to watch

Date: Sunday, Nov. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Georgia)
TV: 
CBS | Stream: CBS All Access
Follow: CBS Sports App

Prediction

The Broncos are a hard team to evaluate after mounting a furious comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers last week, the fourth-largest comeback in franchise history. Drew Lock has more interceptions than touchdown passes this season, but he threw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of last week’s win. The Broncos’ offense has been stagnant the majority of the season, ranking toward the bottom in points and yards, while ranking third in giveaways and converting third downs. Atlanta just has nine takeaways on the year, sporting a defense that is second-to-last in yards allowed and touchdowns. This should be an opportunity for Denver to sling the ball around and create scoring opportunities they haven’t had much of in 2020. Phillip Lindsay, who scored his first touchdown last week, is averaging 6.4 yards per carry this season on just 45 carries. The Broncos will need to get him involved more in the running game.

Atlanta’s running game revolves around Todd Gurley, who has scored eight touchdowns in eight games, but is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry over his last three games. He’ll have an opportunity to right the ship against a Denver run defense that has struggled of late, giving up 142.7 yards per game over its last three games. Matt Ryan leads the NFL in passing yards, but the touchdown numbers are down — having just 12 on the season. Like most teams, the Broncos will have issues containing Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. Denver has a top 10 red zone defense to counter with Atlanta’s passing game.

This game is a legitimate toss up and Denver hasn’t been consistent on offense enough to go pound-for-pound with Atlanta. Can the Falcons hold a fourth quarter lead for the second straight game? Keeping Ryan and that pass offense off the field will be crucial in a challenging road test. 

Pick: Falcons 30, Broncos 27 

Check out CBSSports.com for even more expert predictions on this game and the rest of Week 9.

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