The Denver Broncos have started this season strong, despite a loss to Indianapolis; they are currently 7-1 and in second place in the AFC West standings. Halfway done with the season and coming off of a bye-week, and are in San Diego to take on Phillip Rivers and the Chargers.
Denver will need to take care of the football better against San Diego. Last week against Washington, they turned the ball over four times; three of them were Peyton Manning interceptions. Despite those turnovers, they controlled the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Redskins 31-0. Just think if they didn’t turn the ball over so much what the outcome would have actually been.
The defense was much better in pass rush and getting pressure on the quarterback. They pressured and hurried Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and made him uncomfortable. Derek Wolfe came away with a sack in the win, and Von Miller looked as if he is back to game shape, which is great for the Broncos defense. The front-four will need to continue to pressure the quarterback to help out the secondary, which may be without Duke Ihenacho, and is still missing Champ Bailey. The secondary is one of the worst in the NFL in pass defense.
Denver will have a variety of weapons with Julius Thomas back. He was injured in Week 8 after awkwardly going down on his ankle. The bye-week helped rest him up and will be in the lineup. Even if the Broncos didn’t have him for this game, still would have liked their chances. Wes Welker is currently second in the National Football League in touchdown receptions sitting at nine, while teammate Demaryius Thomas is tied for 10th with six. This offense is explosive; having players like Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas can create fits for the opposing defense.
The Broncos will need to keep an eye on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Keenan Allen. Allen has come on of late, showcasing his skills on Monday Night Football in week six against the Indianapolis Colts. He caught 9 passes for 107 yards with a touchdown, and just came off of an 8 catch, 128 yard performance last week against Washington. Look for Chris Harris and Antonio Rogers-Cromartie to be splitting time on him.
Knowshon Moreno has been a key part of this Broncos offense. He is second in the NFL behind Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, in rushing touchdowns with eight. He has 108 carries for 456 yards, averaging 4.2 yards-per-carry. He hasn’t made much of an impact with rushing yards, in which he is ranked, 20th in the NFL, but that’s because the Broncos are too good of a team not to pass the ball with the weapons they have. But Knowshon makes the most of his opportunities when he is called upon.
Wesley Woodyard is the most important piece to this Denver Broncos defense, and it’s nice to have him back. Most of you will have an argument saying Von Miller is, but Woodyard is the glue. Without Woodyard in Denver’s 39-33 loss to Indianapolis, the defense was lost. With Vickerson’s 15-yard penalties called on him showed no discipline and lack of leadership that game. Champ Bailey went down with the problematic foot injury he had been suffering, leaving Denver without a vocal leader. Andrew Luck was slicing the defense left and right. Expect to see Denver’s defense the best it has been all season.
San Diego’s cornerback position seems to be a little dicey right now as Derek Cox struggled in their last outing. Broncos probably already know about that and will be passing heavy against the Chargers defense. Orlando Franklin has had extra rest and so has the whole offensive line. Peyton should have good pass protection against a team that is ranked 28th in the league in opponent passing yards, and 23th in opponents rushing yards.