I’ve already come up with 10 reasons why being a Broncos fan is better than being a Chargers fan. Not that I couldn’t come up with 10 more reasons, but I wanted to put a different spin on things this Wednesday.
As we enter Sunday’s game, it feels like week 1 of the season. That 3 game lead in the AFC West has vanished faster than Eddie Royal can take it end to end. All playoff hopes rest in these last seven games of the season. The wins against the Cowboys and Patriots can be put into our sweet memory banks as exciting games, but the thrill of those wins has died down.
The Broncos and Chargers are tied for the lead in the AFC West with impressive 6-3 marks. Each team has struggled in one way or another during the season. The difference from last year when the Broncos dropped their final games to graciously hand over a playoff spot to the Chargers? There’s still time on the clock to get it back.
This is a very different Broncos team than the one we saw at the end of last season. From top to bottom and on both sides of the ball, this team has improved.
I can say with confidence that I would take Kyle Orton over Jay Cutler in this offense. Orchestrating a mistake free offense is more like driving a bus than racing a Ferrari anyway. The running game has improved with Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter in the backfield. Both guys find the holes and have meshed well with the Broncos offensive line. Speaking of the offensive line, they’ve been battered this season, and have given up more sacks, but they are still top notch. One can never tell who the leading receiver will be, and I like it that way. It keeps opposing defenses guessing.
A defense that can go from one of the worst in the league to #1 doesn’t happen in one season. It occurred for a period of time this season, and even though the Broncos have dropped in their rankings, they still have one of the top 10 defenses in the league. Mike Nolan has done a phenomenal job with this squad, and moving Elvis Dumervil to outside linebacker has made him one of the best pass rushers in the league. The addition of an aging secondary was one of the best offseason moves the team made. Not only is Brian Dawkins a hard hitting, intimidating safety, but he brings that same intensity to his leadership position. Adding Andre Goodman in the secondary was the perfect complement to Champ Bailey. It doesn’t matter where opposing QBs look to throw now. They’ve got a good chance of being picked off. Wesley Woodyard, Andra Davis, and Renaldo Hill are always making big plays. Not to mention, D.J. Williams who is always in on the play whether or not he’s made the tackle.
Josh McDaniels’ coaching style is much different than Mike Shanahan’s. He calls the safe play that will limit mistakes, and gives his team the chance to win no matter what predicament they’re in. He is a matter of fact kind of guy, but he can celebrate with the best of them. The one thing he didn’t bring from his days coaching under Bill Belichick is a stoic attitude when his team performs well.
Taking all of this into account, we can’t get down on our Broncos now. Sure, they gave up a playoff spot last year despite a big lead, but this is a different team. It’s a team that’s still on course to prove the naysayers wrong.