October 7, 2010

Week 5: Broncos vs. Ravens Preview

Following last week's rally over the Tennessee Titans to avoid a 1-3 start to the season, the Broncos now face an even bigger challenge when they head to Baltimore this weekend. Actually, I think saying "an even bigger challenge" is an understatement for this struggling team. Here's an insight as to what the Broncos are up against on the East Coast come Sunday.


Kyle Orton vs. Joe Flacco is our first match-up to look out for and interesting one it will be. As we all know Orton has been outstanding considering the position our non-existent running game has put him in. And thanks to that, Orton is the NFL's leading passer and the Broncos rank numero uno in pass yards (1,419 to be exact... IN 4 GAMES!!!!!). Ridiculous if you ask me, at this rate he will surpass all the yards (2,972) he threw for in ONE season ('08 in Chicago) before our bye week. Not that I'm not happy we're #1 in something in this league, and you got to be happy that it's not something stupid like "most penalties" or "most INTs) but while we rank number one in passing we are dead last in rushing yards. We'll get to that little conundrum later. So while we have a very reliable QB in Orton (6 TDs, 3 INTs, 1,419 yards & a 96.3 rating), our defense will be dealing with Joe Flacco (5 TDs, 6 INTs, 920 yards & a 70.5 rating)... a QB of doing a number on our defense while exploiting other weaknesses on our team yet to be known.

Both quarterbacks are strong team-leaders who can get their respective offenses to win games. Orton, however, will be facing a very tough defense... they are tough as they come, always have been... I won't even remind us all of last year's run in with these guys. He will be facing the league top ranked pass rush defense and the top ranked defense in total yardage. And to add insult to injury, their one big weakness on defense just happens to be our biggest weakness on offense, which means if we had any kind of running game at all, we could take total advantage of their 21st ranking rush defense. But also keep in mind, it's possible we could get Moreno back this week (highly unlikely I think) but either way, if we keep pressing to find a running game with the 'backs we have we might have a chance against a defense who, I remind you again, ranks 21st in rush defense. Not their strongest side but never to be taken lightly either. Also, the Ravens' defense is ranked 5th in points allowed (one of our many problem areas, red zone offense putting up points). So back to what I said nearly a week ago about our problem areas and if they don't get improved ASAP, "we're gonna be squished & creamed all over." It's simple football math.

Now the dreaded running game that has troubled Denver for too long. With Knowshon Moreno out this week with his hammy injury, we are left once again with Buckhalter, Maroney & the yet to be seen Andre Brown. And when you add them all up in 4 games we have 220 total rushing yards, which if you think about it like that it doesn't sound so bad... but then you look at our opponents and you see 404, you know we got a serious problem. Baltimore isn't all that far ahead of us in rush yards (ranked 24th). But that doesn't mean Ray Rice or Willis McGahee could really show up for the game Sunday, if you know what I mean.

Our best shot at any kind of running game right now is Moreno and without him we don't have much to go on. The only bright side I can see out of this is both Denver & Baltimore have bad running games (Denver's is clearly worse) but Denver also has the 12th ranked rush defense, by only allowing 101 rush yards. We stopped CJ last week very well holding him to under 100 yards (53 yds), same for Indy's Joseph Addai held under 100 yards (29 yds), I'll even go so far to say we held Jones-Drew to under 100 yards (by 2, he had 98 on us in week 1). Our rush D has done us proud, so far. I hope they can keep that up this week.

I have no worries about our receivers... my worry lies with Ray Lewis and his defense. Dude is crazy good at what he does. Ray Lewis is to Baltimore what Weapon X is to Denver. Crazy, wild, energetic, commands the field, powerful... and both are threats to any offense. Point is, while our receivers are (in my humble & Denver-bias opinion, lol) some of the best, Baltimore's defense is and always has been a top ranked defense. They attack and they won't be letting us complete so many passes, at least not as easily as it has seemed in our last 4 games.

This is one of our tougher games of the season because we have met our match. We have a great WR corps but they have the #1 pass defense. Right now, our receivers are our biggest weapons to winning games. I hope to Bay-Bay get more action with our offense instead of only taking kick returns... he's good at it, but that's not why we drafted him. Waste of talent to stick him with just kick returns like last week, although I do remember Royal getting stuck with that job not too long ago. I think this is the area to watch the most - our WRs vs. Baltimore's defense.


While our offense has some issues to work out, our defense is one of our strongest points... but that also goes for Baltimore's defense. It's clear as day that Baltimore's D is much, much better than Denver's ranking #1 in two areas. I think the next key area to watch is Ray Lewis vs. our offense and Brian Dawkins vs. Baltimore's offense. As mentioned earlier, both players have a lot in common and both have something to offer their respective defenses. Denver's rush defense has shown to be strong by holding very good RBs like Chris Johnson, Joseph Addai & Jones-Drew to under 100 yards. And with a Baltimore offense with not much of a running game either, we should be able to hold them to under 100 yards as well. Again, I think the most important area to watch is our receivers vs. Baltimore's D and their receivers vs. our pass defense.

Special Teams:

No surprise, our ST's finally got run over by Tennessee's Marc Mariani in last week's game when he scored a TD off a kick return. It was the first kickoff returned for a TD by a Titans player since the 2001 season. With as wacky as our special teams have been, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just hope its the last time that happens this season. WR Demaryius Thomas has been assigned the duty of taking kick returns it seems. He did it well against Tennessee and I don't mind, but I'd like to see him out there with the offense this week against Baltimore's #1 pass defense. I'd like to see how well he does against a strong defense.

So, if we can manage to play a decent game and hold our own, I think we can make this a close game. Otherwise, it will turn ugly and fast. I hope to see the Broncos come out strong and stay strong. Orton needs to be better protected by our Oline and our defense definitely needs to put more pressure on the QB. We have 4 sacks on the season so far, that would be 1 per game so far. Pretty sad when you consider we let Orton get sacked 6 times in one game. Good grief. Get some backbone boys!! But I will always take the Broncos side... I say it turns out to be a close game with Denver putting up a hard fight, 24-20 Broncos.

Trivia Questions:

1) Who is the Broncos' all-time leader with 44 career interceptions? (Before Champ Bailey came along)

2) Three Broncos' players are among the 18 in NFL history who have intercepted 4 passes in a game. Who are they?

3) Who won more games an an NFL starting quarterback? Denver's John Elway or Miami's Dan Marino?



  1. OK BP1. This time I'll guess 1ST.
    1.) Louis Wright
    2.) Bailey, Wright and Billy Thompson
    3.) Elway(Not a guess)

  2. lol, you should've stuck with "cheating" first. Completely off on the first two questions. I knew I made #3 easy this time. As my answer sheet tells me, Elway won a league-record 148 regular season games in his career, just one more than Marino with 147. Sucks to be 2nd place. hahaha

    Do more research with the other two ?s... may be kind of hard to find out the answers??

  3. Oh and here's a clue for #2... Bailey isn't one of them. Believe it or not.

  4. 1) Steve Foley
    2) Most Interceptions in a Game, 8, Jim Hardy, Chicago Cardinals, 1950
    Broncos with 4 in a game.
    Goose Gonsoulin, 9/18/60
    Willie Brown, 11/15/64
    Deltha O'Neal, 10/7/01

  5. Now, those are the correct answers. I'd love to see Champ on that list of at least 4 INTs in a game... tomorrow's game would be a good start! ahaha

  6. Let's get ready for what I like to call 'The Woodshed Game!' Because that's what the Ravens our going to do us. Take us out back behind the woodshed! Ouch!!!

  7. I enjoyed the game, even though we lost. Balt is tough and it was there. We don't travel east well. I said if we split with Tenn and Balt I would be happy.

  8. BP1
    Now we gave up a 100 yard rusher. Ray Rice 133 yards 2 TDs.

  9. Yeah, I've read all about it and more. Wasn't able to see the game at all, couldn't find a good feed so had to stick with the very slow play-by-play stuff on nfl. But I will say I become more and more impressed with how Orton's play. No INTs today, still got 2 TDs to Lloyd against a stingy pass defense. The NFL and all his critics owe him a BIG apology for talking smack about him. I'd take him over Cutler any day. He's really proven himself. Now if our running game could only get their act together. I don't know where it went but somebody better find and get it back. Really missing Lendale White right now... stupid pre-season games. grrr Our best chance is Moreno and he will most likely play against the Jets.

    Like I said on DB, I'm not as mad about how the game went down as to the mountain of penalties we got today and for 90 yards. It's pathetic. It's simple common sense, no team is going to win let alone play smart football with 10 penalties for 90 yds. Ridiculous.