The 12-time Pro Bowler has never played against his former team and will likely get a hero's welcome, back at the home of the franchise with which he holds team records in receptions (916), receiving yards (10,940) and touchdown catches (76).
"It's going to be a little weird being in a different locker room and coming out of that tunnel when we first come in," Gonzalez told the Chiefs' official website. "It's going to be a little weird, but I'm looking forward to it."
Gonzalez has indicated he will likely retire after this year, and still believes the Falcons can get over the hump.
Ryan and Smith have been together for a franchise-record four straight winning seasons, but their 0-3 postseason mark has the Falcons still looking for their first playoff win since the 2004 season.
Atlanta is confident it can take the next step in 2012.
"I think this is probably the most talented group we've had up to this point," receiver Roddy White said. "We can all run. I think our team's fast. I think we play fast. I think it can be special."
There are new coordinators on both sides of the ball, with Dirk Koetter on offense and Mike Nolan on defense.
Cassel was limited to nine games a year ago due to a hand injury as he enters his fourth season with Kansas City, which went 7-9 after winning the AFC West the previous season.
Crennel, however, faces a new set of problems with his defense. The unit will be without linebacker Tamba Hali, suspended for the opener for violating the league's policy on substance abuse.
"Other guys have to step up and they have to be relentless," Crennel said. "Like Eric Berry, he's going to be relentless with or without Tamba. I think other guys will have to play the same way."
Improvement in a running game that wasn't very productive last season would help keep the injury-plagued defense off the field. The Chiefs led the league with 2,627 rushing yards in 2010 only to fall to 15th with 1,893 yards one year later while finishing with an AFC-low 20 touchdowns.
Ryan was a rookie the last time these teams met nearly four years ago. He threw a 70-yard TD pass to White, and Turner gained 104 yards and scored three times in the Falcons' 38-14 victory.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press