The Falcons and Broncos have each participated in the Hall of Fame Game three times previously, with both teams compiling identical 1-2 records in the preseason opener, but never faced one another in those prior contests. Denver hasn’t made an appearance at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium since 2004, but it’s been even longer—25 years to be exact—since the Falcons have made a trip to Ohio to open the preseason schedule.
One interesting trend to note is that the Falcons haven’t had much success during the preseason since Dan Quinn took over as head coach in 2015. The team is just 4-12 during exhibition games in that span, including an 0-4 record in last year’s preseason. Atlanta doesn’t score many points in these matchups either, failing to ring up a single score in their 2018 NFL preseason opener against the New York Jets and totaling up just 27 points in the final three outings. It’s clear that Quinn doesn’t place much importance on getting his first-stringers reps in these meaningless contests, as evidenced by starting quarterback Matt Ryan playing just two snaps in that showdown with the Jets.
Quinn did mention he is looking forward to participating in the Hall of Fame Game and hopes the extra playing time—the Falcons and Broncos will compete in five preseason games this year, compared to four for the rest of the league—will result in improved team chemistry (via ProFootballHOF.com):
We are fired up to kick off the NFL’s 100th season in the Hall of Fame Game. We are honored to play in Canton and be a part of the celebration for all of the inductees. This is also an opportunity for us to strengthen our connection and our brotherhood with additional time on the field.
The Broncos have had quite a bit more success than their upcoming opponent with regards to finding the end zone during the preseason. They averaged an impressive 25 points across their four exhibition clashes last year, but those expecting some high totals from the Denver offense should be wary that those outbursts came with Vance Joseph calling the shots. Things could be different now that the club is employing Vic Fangio, the former Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator who will be making his head coaching debut on the sidelines this Thursday.
Fangio is far from the only new hire in the Mile High City either, as the Broncos also have a new starting quarterback in Joe Flacco and a slew of other fresh faces up and down the roster. That could make for a rough start out of the gate in this nationally televised Pro Football Hall of Fame Game and something bettors should keep in mind when making a play on the matchup. There will be plenty more to dive into as information is revealed this week, including how much the head coaches plan to play their starters, an updated injury report and more, so check back for more 2019 NFL preseason info during the leadup to the official preseason start at the Hall of Fame Game.
SOURCE: Hall of Fame Game 2019 Preview