The Denver Broncos begin their post-bye week schedule by hosting the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. If you are a fan of defense, then you should probably watch game four of the World Series that night. There’s not going to be a whole lot of defense played between the Broncos and Saints. Having said that, whichever team makes more plays on defense is probably the team that also wins the game.
Both of these offenses are explosive, starting with the Broncos and Peyton Manning. No quarterback in the league is playing better than Manning right now, and the Saints rank last in pass defense. They gave up 420 passing yards to Josh Freeman last week in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Going into that game, the Buccaneers were one of the worst offenses in the NFL and put up over 500 yards of total offense versus the Saints.
Manning will never admit it, but he has to be watching film and smiling. The Broncos will move the ball and score points, but they cannot turn the football over. They also cannot afford to get off to another slow start; the Saints will not let the Broncos back in the game if they get up big.
The Broncos need to get away from their pattern of coming out deliberate in an attempt to establish the run, because that’s how they are getting into trouble. Manning and the offense must be aggressive from the opening kickoff and keep their foot on the gas. It may take 40 points to win this game, and starting slow makes that hard to do.
Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have to be involved early and avoid the unforced errors that have haunted both of them. Running back, Willis McGahee can be a big factor but more in the second half if the Broncos have a lead and after Manning has loosened up the Saints defense with the pass. Look for Manning to spread the ball around as he always does, and put up huge numbers. If Manning is on your fantasy team, start him!
It’s not all bad news for the Saints, not by a long shot. Drew Brees is playing lights out football over the last two weeks and you can be sure that he has seen what other elite quarterbacks have done versus the Broncos. The Saints don’t even try to run the ball, they know who they are and they are going to come out firing. Brees might be without one of his biggest weapons again, as tight-end Jimmy Graham was limited in practice on Wednesday. Graham is one of the best tight-ends in football, and the Broncos struggle to cover average tight-ends.
Even without Graham, Brees has plenty targets including; Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore. Although the player that probably scares the Broncos the most is running back, Darren Sporles. Sporles haunted the Broncos when he played for the San Diego Chargers. He’s not your typical running back; Sporles does almost all of his damage as a receiver out of the backfield. The Broncos do not have anyone to matchup with him.
If there is an advantage for either team, it’s the fact that the Broncos defense is better than the Saints. It’s not a dominant defense by any means but they have been effective at times, especially if the Broncos can get the lead early. Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller and Derek Wolfe are completely different players when the Broncos are in the lead. The secondary for the Broncos also enter the contest with a ton of confidence after their showing versus the Chargers. If Champ Bailey, Chris Harris and Tony Carter play like they did ten days ago then the Broncos have a chance to at least slow the Saints down.
Both teams are going to score points, so the team that has to settle for field goals will be in trouble. As with every game, turnovers will also be critical and whoever wins that battle probably wins the game. In the end, the Denver Broncos are at home and have a better defense. Due to those two things, my pick is 38-34 Broncos in a classic.
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