GAME PLAN: The Broncos have to establish something in the running game, despite all their injuries at tailback. The Falcons are a powerful, ball-control team, and the Broncos can't let Atlanta have a huge edge in time of possession. Denver will spent plenty of time spreading the field and letting Jay Cutler carry the offense, but they need to keep Atlanta's defense honest.
Defensively, the Broncos have to take away the run and hope quarterback Matt Ryan makes some mistakes. The Falcons are one of the best running teams in the NFL, which isn't a good matchup for the Broncos and their injury-ravaged defense. The Broncos will likely be without five defensive starters on Sunday.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos linebackers vs. Falcons running game. The Broncos will be without all three normal starting linebackers against the Falcons. That will be quite a challenge for the backups, who have to hold up against the Falcons' power running game, led by running back Michael Turner.
Broncos receivers vs. Falcons CB Domonique Foxworth. The Broncos traded Foxworth to Atlanta after he was falling down the depth chart at the end of preseason, and he has emerged as a starter with the Falcons. The Broncos know Foxworth's tendencies and are likely to take a couple of shots his way during Sunday's game.
INJURY IMPACT: TE Tony Scheffler was back at a full practice and should be fully healthy going forward. He had missed three games with a groin injury.
RB Selvin Young hasn't practiced this week and seems to be a longshot to play. He tried to play through a groin injury last week against Cleveland but came out after a few plays.
CB Champ Bailey didn't practice Wednesday because of a groin injury but the team didn't rule him out of Sunday's game. The Broncos are unlikely to take any chances with their best defensive player.
LB Nate Webster will not play this week as he continues to rehabilitate his knee injury. Webster could miss another week or two.
LB D.J. Williams was ruled out of this week's game with a knee injury. He is scheduled to miss a couple more games before returning.
S Marlon McCree is out this week with a high ankle sprain.
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