Broncos QB Peyton Manning didn’t have his best game of the season, only throwing for 204 yards and one TD, but it didn’t matter due to the help from the running game. The Broncos rushed for a total of 163 yards, led by RB Knowshon Moreno, who had 115 on the ground, including a six yard run in the third quarter that extended the Broncos’ lead to 31-3.
If the Broncos want to win the rematch between the two teams in this week’s AFC Divisional Playoff game, they will have to have a similar offensive balance.
The combination of Moreno and rookie Ronnie Hillman has been a solid duo in the absence of injured Willis McGahee. However, Hillman’s recent turnover issues has him squarely in head coach John Fox’s dog house and it has been Lance Ball and Jacob Hester who have received the secondary workload. Moreno can have his ups and his downs but he has revitalized his career filling in for the injured McGahee and he hopes to continue his strong play on Saturday.
Although Denver is only middle of the pack in rushing average, they’re ranked 16th in the NFL with only 114 yards per game, they have still had plenty of offensive success this season. Manning never really had a great running game to compliment his passing ability, but with the Broncos he has a solid running game to as a backup plan. The rushing attack hasn’t been utilized as much as it was last season, mostly because it has not really been needed due to Manning’s addition to the offense. However, it will be necessary this weekend, especially if the weather forecast holds true. On Saturday, around game time, it is expected to be around 26 degrees with a 40 percent chance of snow.
Baltimore’s defense will look a little different than it did in week 15, but the Broncos still hope to have the same offensive success. Denver’s offensive balance will likely be a major factor in this week’s divisional round and if the Broncos show the same balance, they will be hosting the AFC Championship game next weekend.