It’s going to be tough to come down from the high of the Broncos’ beatdown of the Baltimore Ravens and focus on another game, but I can’t wait for the first Broncos Sunday of the 2013 season.
Denver is going to have to keep focus with everyone patting them on the back over the last 10 days, and they’re going into the Giants’ house where Eli and company are trying to avoid an 0-2 start. The Broncos have an uphill battle to climb here, but they have the firepower to make it happen. Here are my keys to victory for the Broncos facing a tough road test.
1. Pedal to the Metal
I find myself making the comment during Broncos games far too often: “Don’t take your foot off the gas!”
Sometimes John Fox is so conservative as a head coach, especially when the Broncos get a lead, and it’s sickening. If the Broncos had a guy like Chip Kelly as their head coach, there’s no doubt in my mind he’d be going for 60 points a game if he could.
I don’t think Fox is like that at all. He likes to establish a ground game, which is understandable, but you do it at the expense of Peyton Manning, not to supplement him.
If the Broncos are going to beat the Giants, you’ve got to make them play from behind, and put the game away as soon as possible. When you get a lead, you do everything in your power to extend it, not nurse it. Eli Manning is a very clutch quarterback who can make plays in close games, but his confidence can be shaken if the Giants get behind by a lot. I want to see the Broncos go for 50 against the Giants, something they’re certainly capable of doing on any given week.
2. Spread the Ball
The Broncos did a great job of this last week. They got the ball to a wide variety of receivers, including Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Wes Welker, and the running backs. The one guy who didn’t make the most of his opportunities was Eric Decker, whom I believe is going to have a big rebound game.
On any given play, there will be at least two Broncos receivers who are getting single coverage, and that’s not good news for the Giants’ defense no matter who they choose to match up with. New York doesn’t have a great linebacker group in terms of coverage either, so this could be another big game for Julius Thomas, who is a matchup nightmare at the TE position.
3. Creative Pass Rush
The Broncos took advantage of the lead Peyton Manning built in the second half and the huge game-changing interception by Chris Harris to get pressure on the quarterback. They need to be able to generate a rush at any point in the game, so Jack Del Rio is going to need to get creative.
With all the targets the Giants have offensively, the Broncos are going to have to make due with four or five guys rushing on any given play. If they can make Eli uncomfortable early, they can force turnovers and bad decisions.
4. Big Plays in Run Game
The Broncos don’t need two 100 yard rushers, but they need someone to provide a steady four-to-five yards per carry. As of last week, that’s not happening.
One of Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, or Knowshon Moreno is going to have to help extend drives by running the football effectively, and making some big plays.
The Giants aren’t going to be stacking eight in the box, so the running game should be there if the Broncos want it. It’s going to be up to the young stable of backs to take advantage.
5. Go for the Kill
This goes along with #1 as well, but the Broncos need to be aggressive offensively. They didn’t attempt a single field goal last week against the Ravens, which might be boring to Matt Prater but every Broncos fan was glad to see it.
Prater trotted out onto the field for seven and what should have been eight extra points, and that’s the kind of fun we want to see him have on a weekly basis. Take advantage of possessions that get into Giants territory, and don’t be conservative with #18 out there slinging passes.