One of the most surprising stories through the first few weeks of the 2013 NFL season was the emergence and success of running back Knowshon Moreno in the Denver Broncos’ offense. After a ton of people had all but forgotten about him coming into the year, Moreno started this year off with a bang.
The back struggled in his first game and got only nine carries, but came out the next game and erupted for 93 yards on 13 carries and two scores in week two. Over the next three weeks, he had two games of more than 75 yards rushing and took two runs for six points. Since week five, though, he hasn’t been nearly as productive.
Before last week against the Kansas City Chiefs when Moreno got 27 carries as the Broncos tried to keep the defensively talented Chiefs guessing, Moreno hadn’t gotten more than 15 carries in a game, had averaged more than four yards per carry in just one game and had scored four touchdowns (a cause largely helped by a three TD game against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
As the Broncos head into their matchup on Sunday Night Football this week against the New England Patriots, though, I expect to see Moreno prominently featured in the offense. Obviously he’s not going to have as big of an impact as Peyton Manning because Peyton has all but ascended to heaven as the patron saint of the audible at this point. However, this is a matchup Moreno can take advantage of.
Though the Patriots have been decent defensively this season, their run defense has been vulnerable. They currently give up the 27th most yards per game this season. Throw in the fact that New England will likely be gearing up to try and stop Peyton and the Broncos’ wide receivers and Moreno could be set for a big game. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him be a major factor consistently, but don’t be surprised if it happens this week in primetime.