The Denver Broncos come out of the bye week still elated over their come from behind monumental win against the San Diego Chargers on MNF in week 6. The road ahead seems much easier than the road they have just traveled to get to a 3-3 record and on top of the AFC West. Now they host the New Orleans Saints in what promises to be a battle of teams that have suddenly found a groove.
In the Saints, you have seen plenty of passing with Drew Brees lately, as he is leading a number one ranked passing attack, but now faces a Broncos defense that is ranked 10th in opponents passing yards allowed. This will be the most intriguing battle as the Broncos welcome back Tracy Porter to an undisclosed illness and the Saints will have their versatile TE Jimmy Graham on the field coming back from injury.
Why this match-up becomes so intriguing is the fact that the Saints are exceptionally bad in two areas that the Broncos can excel. The Saints come into Denver with the league’s worst rushing attack, while being second to worst in stopping the run. Willis McGahee will be licking his chops to get on the field Sunday night and exploit this Saints defense. If that happens, then it will be very likely to see McGahee as well as Peyton Manning and the Broncos fourth best passing attack eat chunks of yards while building a big lead.
Some may say that this game will be a shootout between two of the NFL’s elite QBs, but this Denver secondary has been solid all year. The emergence of Chris Harris, Tony Carter and Jim Leonhard against the Chargers proved that even missing Porter, they will not miss a beat. I look for the Broncos to be able to keep Brees to a respectable game and not allow him to throw for four TDs like he did this past week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Broncos need to come out and play a full sixty minutes for the first time this year and show the league just what type of team they are capable of becoming. I believe that will start this week. I would not bet against Peyton Manning on this Broncos team having a full two weeks to prepare for any opponent while playing at home. The season starts this Sunday night for the Broncos as their schedule gets markedly easier and teams will need to reckon with a talented and hungry squad.
The Broncos will need to get the most out of their pass rush with Elvis Dumervil, Derek Wolfe and Von Miller. By keeping Brees on the run, they will be able to capitalize on mistakes and put points on the board with turnovers. This will allow Champ Bailey, Porter, Mike Adams and anyone else in the backfield to just cover their man and keep the ball in front of them.
Just remember that the Saints are the league’s worst defense and allow 305 yards in the air on average. That is right up Manning’s alley as all he has been doing is surpassing that mark almost every game. In this game, I see the Broncos pulling away with a 34-17 win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and put the league on notice that not only is Peyton Manning back(as if we didn’t know this already), but the Broncos are all in for a solid run to the postseason as winners of the AFC West.
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