Chargers, Falcons to compare NFL's top scoring offenses
ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Falcons are the NFL's top-scoring team, because of quarterback Matt Ryan's recharged passing attack.
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers are right behind.
Ryan and the Falcons will face the Rivers-led Chargers on Sunday in a showdown of the league's top scoring offenses.
The Falcons (4-2) have had good balance and a surprising downfield passing attack while averaging 33.2 points per game.
They also lead the league with 441.5 yards per game, almost 40 more than the second-place Saints.
San Diego (2-4) is averaging 28.8 points despite ranking only in the middle of the pack in total yards (355.2).
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Atlanta's NFL-best 30 passes of at least 20 yards.
Ryan has 15 TD passes with only three interceptions while leading the NFL with 2,075 yards passing. He already is closing in on his 2015 total of 21 TD passes.
Julio Jones, averaging 21.2 yards on his team-leading 31 catches, says defenses still don't respect Ryan's arm strength.
''They don't think he's going to throw the ball down the field,'' Jones said Thursday.
''We've got to continue to make them pay. They underestimate us ... We're making believers out of a lot of people now that we're going to throw the ball down the field. Matt has been phenomenal this year with deep balls.''
Jones said second-year offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is ''letting it loose.''
''If we see something in the game and we tell him, he dials it up,'' Jones said. ''There's no second-guessing. He believes in us and we believe in him.''
The Chargers snapped a three-game losing streak with last week's 21-13 home win over Denver.
''Winning against Denver was big,'' Rivers said. ''We needed to feel what's it's like to finish out a game and win ... so we're coming to Atlanta with a ton of confidence. We know we're playing a good team. ... We know they've got a heck of an explosive offense and we're excited about the challenge.''
Here are some things to watch when the Chargers visit the Falcons:
OLD FRIEND: The Chargers will face defensive end Dwight Freeney, who played with San Diego during the 2013-14 seasons. Freeney has three sacks for Atlanta. ''He's still going,'' Rivers said. ''He still rushes the passer, has his spin move and is doing his deal. He's certainly always a guy you've got to be aware of.''
BACK IN BLACK: The Falcons will wear their black throwback jerseys in what they say will be a ''blended 1966 replica uniform'' that pays tribute to the first Atlanta team. The original 1966 uniform included a red helmet, but the Falcons will stay with their black helmets. The helmets will feature the original Falcons logo used from 1966 to 2003.
The Falcons will wear white pants, though Ryan said receiver Mohamed Sanu pushed for black pants to match the jerseys. ''We wore that my rookie year,'' Ryan said. ''... I like those as well.''
ROAD WOES: The Chargers have lost 10 of their past 11 road games going back to the final game of 2014. Now they face tough tests at Atlanta and Denver. The Chargers can help their chances in the AFC West by winning on the road after beating Denver at home on Oct. 13.
FIND THE BALL: The Falcons forced six fumbles the past two weeks, but had no recoveries. Coach Dan Quinn said that's the next step for his defense.
''Our mindset defensively is definitely improving,'' Quinn said. He said recovering fumbles is a mix of luck and ''a real technique.''
HUNTING FOR TDS: Tight end Hunter Henry is looking to become the first Chargers rookie to score touchdowns in four straight games since Paul Lowe and Don Norton did it in the franchise's inaugural season of 1960 in Los Angeles. Henry has 19 catches for 310 yards and three scores.
The Chargers' tight end tandem also includes veteran Antonio Gates, who needs five touchdown catches to tie former Chiefs and Falcons star Tony Gonzalez (111) for the NFL record for tight ends.
AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.
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