Broncos vs. Titans: Peyton Manning Takes on Under-the-Radar Tennessee Pass Defense

By Ryan Heckman
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The 10-2 Denver Broncos are coming off of a few weeks of some pretty tough matchups. Between beating the Kansas City Chiefs twice and losing to the New England Patriots, November wasn’t an easy month for the Broncos. But, alas, Denver’s schedule lightens up and they get an easy victory this weekend.

Or do they?

The Tennessee Titans come into Mile High Stadium at 5-7 with most of their playoff hopes nearly out of the window. But, their defense is also the perfect kind of group to help slow down Peyton Manning and a high-flying offense such as theirs. Manning is coming off of a game in which he tossed four touchdowns to Eric Decker, a guy that is looked at as their third-best wideout. That’s a bit daunting to any defense, knowing that three wide receivers can beat you on any given day.

But, what the Titans have back in their secondary could be a great match for Denver’s offense. Tennessee’s pass defense comes into this game as the 7th-ranked unit in all of football. Three guys in particular have been fantastic this season: Bernard Pollard, Michael Griffin and Alterraun Verner.

Pollard leads the team in tackles this season and has also added three tackles for loss, five passes defensed, three interceptions and a blocked kick. Griffin is third on the team in tackles, has three tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

Verner, though, has been the star of this secondary with an unbelievable season: 17 passes defensed, five interceptions (including one for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Of all the guys in Tennessee’s secondary, Verner is by far the most dangerous this season. He’s enjoyed career highs in passes defensed, fumble recoveries and interceptions.

For Manning, he cannot take this group lightly. If anything, the Broncos may have to rely more on running the ball at least to start with — just to keep this ball hawking group honest. Many believe that this game would be a blowout, and it very well could be, but Manning will get one of his best tests of the season in the Titans’ secondary.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.



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