The Denver Broncos (1-4) hit the road to take on the Miami Dolphins (0-5). The Broncos are coming off of their bye week while the Dolphins faced the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. The Broncos have the 3rd best record (16-6) in the league when they are coming off their bye week. However, they have lost their last three games. Game time is set for 11:00 a.m. MT. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from Sunday’s matchup.
Broncos: The Broncos are averaging 21.0 points per game. Their passing offense is ranked 27th while their rushing offense is ranked 22nd. The Broncos will look to take advantage of a Dolphins secondary that has given up big play after big play. With Tim Tebow’s ability to scramble, the Broncos wide receivers should be that much more open down field. The team gets Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal, and Julius Thomas back from injury, so Brandon Lloyd’s departure shouldn’t be felt too much. The Broncos offensive line will have to continue its outstanding play. They’ve given up just two sacks in the last three games. However, with Tebow running around more than Kyle Orton did, the offensive line will have to watch the holding penalties.
Dolphins: The Dolphins are averaging just 15.0 points per game. Their passing offense is ranked 19th while their rushing offense is ranked 14th. Matt Moore is starting in place of Chad Henne who was placed on the IR. The Moore has some starting experience for John Fox, so expect Denver’s defense to know exactly how to get into Moore’s head. Daniel Thomas is averaging 83.0 rushing yards per game while his complimentary back Reggie Bush is always a threat for a breakaway run. There’s also Brandon Marshall of course. If he has any room, he’ll make the catch and then he’s deadly in terms of yards after the catch. The Dolphins have blown a lot of big offensive plays this year which reflects in their average, but on paper, they do have talent.
Broncos: Stopping the Dolphins rushing game first is essential. Once the Broncos are able to do that, they can focus in more on the pass rush. The Dolphins have given up 18 sacks on the year already. They will also turn the ball over. They are ranked 29th in turnover differential with -7. The Broncos’ defense has shown glimpses of greatness. They play about 75% of their plays very well, but then have a mental lapse and give up a big one on third down. If they play like they did against the Titans or the Bengals, the Broncos will absolutely walk away with the win.
Dolphins: Defensively, the Dolphins are giving up 25.6 points per game. They don’t apply much pressure to the quarterback which is evident in their 29th pass defense. If there’s one game for Tebow to get his passing game on track and confidence up, this is the perfect situation. Yeremiah Bell is leading the team in tackles, Cameron Wake is leading them in sacks (3), and as a defense, they have just two interceptions on the season. Willis McGahee should be able to run on the Phins’ as well, especially because Tebow is a threat in the rushing and passing department.
Broncos: This area has been a real bright spot. The Broncos have the No. 1 punt return team thanks to Eric Decker and Quan Crosby. They are also No. 2 in net punting average thanks to Britton Colquitt and the thin Mile High air.
Dolphins: The Dolphins have Dan Carpenter kicking for them and he’s 11-for-14 on field goals with a long of 51. Clyde Gates is averaging 22.1 yards per kick return with a long of 38. Davone Bass is averaging 10.5 yards per punt on 8 attempts.
Broncos: John Fox is 6-3 coming off the bye, and he’s won three in a row after the break. A lot of eyes will be on him to see just how he utilizes Tebow. If he doesn’t call plays that play to Tebow’s strengths or if Tebow doesn’t perform well in this game, people are going to criticize the coach for not wanting Tebow to succeed or not surrounding him with talent.
Chargers: Tony Sparano is likely gone after this season. People are still hanging on to the fact that he took the Dolphins to an 11-5 record in 2008. Since then, he’s 14-23. Sparano’s job security rides on this game against the Broncos. Another loss at home could get him the boot before the season is over, unless, however the Phins’ are set on committing to “sucking for Luck.”
Prediction: Broncos – 24 Dolphins – 17.