Sitting on top of the AFC West with an 11-3 record, the Denver Broncos host the Cleveland Browns this Sunday at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos have a plethora of weapons both on offense and defense. With Cleveland’s mathematical chances of making the playoffs eliminated, the Peyton Manning led Broncos look to have an easy win in front of them. Here’s what Cleveland must be aware of in this match up.
On offense, the Broncos rank top ten in points (29.2), yards (387.2), and passing yards (277.1). The big reason is the NFL MVP candidate Manning. After missing all of last season due to a neck injury. Manning is having one of the best years of his 15 year career with over 4,000 yards thrown and 31 touchdowns. In my opinion, the star veteran quarterback is the best in the league and will pick apart any secondary.
There are two receivers that should have the Browns shivering with fear, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. These two guys have put up ridiculous numbers. Together, they have 150 receptions, 2,133 yards, and 17 touchdowns. Thomas is the ultimate receiver with size, strength, and speed that can hang with any of the star prototypes in the league. Decker is a chains mover that is not afraid to go over the middle and make a catch. These two players alone worry me for the Browns.
I admire Denver for their creativity. Much like the New England Patriots, the Broncos use two tight ends with good hands and athleticism. Joel Dreesen and Jacob Tamme are two more weapons in Manning’s holster. Both Dreesen and Tamme combined have 85 catches, 792 yards, and seven touchdowns. And, if that’s not enough, Manning’s longtime friend and teammate Brandon Stokley is another receiver to go to. The 36 year old has five touchdowns on the season.
Once considered a bust, Knowshon Moreno has temporarily resurrected himself due to Willis McGahee‘s late season ending injury. Moreno averages four yards a carry respectively and has back-to-back games of 100 yards or more.
The Broncos defense is ranked top eight in points allowed (19.6), yards (307.1), passing yards (216.1), and rushing yards (91.0). Denver is stacked with explosive young and experienced players. Veteran linebacker Wesley Woodyard leads the Broncos with 66 tackles and stuffs the stat sheet with three interceptions, one forced fumble, and four sacks.
One of the most young dominating defensive players in the NFL is former first round pick, Von Miller. The 23 year old has 16 sacks on the year and has six forced fumbles. He is a nuisance on opposing QBs and gives offensive linemen headaches on a daily basis.
Defensive end Elvis Dumervil is the Broncos’ edge rusher that creates havoc for QBs as well. Dumervil is second on the team in sacks and also has six forced fumbles this season. I also like former Cincinnati Bearcats‘ defensive lineman, Derek Wolfe. The 300 lb big boy has four sacks on the 2012 campaign.
Although he is not having a great year statistically, Champ Bailey‘s presence alone should make Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden think twice before throwing at the future Hall of Famer. Bailey is second on the team in tackles with 56 and does have two interceptions.
With the amount of players to worry about, I just don’t see the young Browns pulling this one out. The Broncos are just too hot and loaded with good football players. The mile high Colorado air will suffocate any hopes of winning on Sunday.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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