Although not one of the most talked about matchups going into Week 3 of the aging NFL season, this is one that could end up being one of the most intriguing, and for a variety of reasons.
To put it plainly, there is virtually no familiarity between the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts, which creates an air of mystique before the ball is kicked off on Sunday. The two clubs operate in different conferences and have only played each other a total of 16 times throughout the history of their franchises, and that includes when the Colts were in Baltimore. That said, the Falcons need to do something to get off of the snide when it comes to battling the Colts, because the latter owns the series record with a 14-2 lapping of the birds.
It would take decades for the Falcons to even things up, but they at least could get the train rolling when they travel to Indy this weekend to take on a foe they rarely see.
How to watch
Unlike NFC clashes or divisional fights, this game will not be decided by which neighbor can outclass the other at tactics they've become accustomed to seeing. The Falcons also expected to face Andrew Luck in this matchup but, much to their pleasure, that will not be the case. Luck ended his NFL career this offseason via unexpected retirement but was coming off an elite season in 2018, and his throwing prowess will now be replaced with Jacoby Brissett -- a quarterback the Falcons might be inclined to overlook because of his lack of success over the course of his NFL career. That could be a mistake, though, because while Brissett isn't Luck by any stretch of the imagination, he has the ability to be a dual-threat QB that can keep opposing defenses off-balance.
If the Falcons get too aggressive with the pass rush, Brissett has checkdown weapons like tight Eric Ebron and Nyheim Hines that can make them back off, or he can air it out to Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton to stretch the field. His mobility makes him more of a challenge to bring down as well, and it bears mentioning the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in all of football -- when they're firing on all cylinders.
For the Colts, it'll be all about bullying Matt Ryan and keeping the ball out of the hands of Julio Jones, the latter whom buried the Philadelphia Eagles with a game-breaking play in Week 2. Ryan has shown he'll make mistakes when pressured, and if the Colts defensive front can contain the run -- forcing Ryan into a 40-plus attempt game -- and then apply pressure thereafter, they'll be the 1-1 team landing their second victory this weekend.
If not, Ryan and Jones will make them pay, early and often.
This is a game with so many variables that could swing either way that it's very nearly a pick 'em, only it isn't. The current line at SportsLine has the Colts as -1.5 point favorites, which is basically giving them the edge because they're playing on their home field. It's a battle that could go either way, and that's what -- again -- could make it one of the more fun games to watch in Week 3.
Check out more from our experts at CBSSports.com, including Will Brinson and Pete Prisco, to help with your betting chances.