After Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, the Broncos will have made it through an exceedingly difficult portion of the schedule. In the first seven games, the Broncos will have played two of the top teams in the NFL (Atlanta and Houston), three traditionally-elite teams that have had some issues to this point but still appear to be really good and/or dangerous (Pittsburgh, New England and New Orleans) and two division opponents (Oakland and San Diego).
In the final nine games after taking on the Saints, the Broncos will play four games against teams that, going into play this weekend, currently have only one win (Carolina, Kansas City twice, Cleveland).
The Broncos will play two more games against teams that currently have only two wins (Oakland, Tampa Bay) and they’ll play a Cincinnati team that is 3-4.
The Broncos will play only two teams that are presently .500 or better (San Diego at 3-3, Baltimore at 5-2).
Think of the possibilities.
While fans and media can think of what might be for the Broncos, tight end Jacob Tamme is doing no such thing.
“Did we play some good teams early? Yeah,” Tamme said. “But we play some good teams going forward, too. Every week is it’s own deal in this league. I was thinking of a smart aleck (response) like, ‘The public doesn’t get to play the games. We have to.’ I’m going to treat it like we’re playing the best team every week. Any given week, any team can (win). You have to prepare every week.”
Perhaps the biggest obstacle for the Broncos to overcome is their penchant for falling behind which forces them to rally from sizable deficits.
“It certainly says something good about our team, that we can come back and we can score when we need to but we’re still looking for that 60-minute game, not that 30- or 40-minute game,” Manning said. “It’s something we’re addressing, we are studying it, and we’re trying hard to get off to a better start. Certainly this will be a great team to do it (the Saints)—this is not a team that you want to fall that far behind because they have the potential to keep scoring and keep extending that lead so we know what kind of challenge our defense is in for and we know our offense is in for a challenge against their defense and it sure would be nice to try to put together that 60-minute game starting this week.”
There is no doubt that a team can never take a game for granted in the NFL. That is the quickest way to lose. There is also little doubt the Broncos’ schedule lightens up over the final nine games.
As they move on in the schedule, the Broncos will do just fine as long as they take the approach that Tamme and Manning are talking about. Right now, they are playing like the best team in the AFC West. They are coming off a huge win against the Chargers.
The Broncos’ offense should only get better as Peyton Manning continues to gain strength, settle into this offense and develop better chemistry with his teammates.
In the second half against the Chargers, the Broncos’ defense showed what it is capable of when it puts things together.
If the Broncos stay healthy, there is no reason they can’t win the AFC West. Right now, Denver is the frontrunner. But the frontrunner status won’t mean much if they take it for granted. I don’t think they will.
Expect the Broncos to do what it takes to be ready each week. And don’t be surprised if they get on a roll.
For now, I’ll simply settle for a win over the Saints.
What are the keys to the Broncos defeating the Saints this weekend? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
Tags: Mike Rice