To round off the Denver Broncos’ run of the NFC East, they have to take out the Washington Redskins, who are coming off of their second win of the season last week. The Broncos are coming off of their only loss of the season, and look to head into the bye just one game behind (or tied with) the Kansas City Chiefs, who have the league’s best record.
Here’s what the Broncos need to do to take care of business on Sunday.
1. Attack the secondary
The Redskins will be without their starting safeties Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty. If the Broncos’ receivers can win their one-on-one battles near the line, they can explode for some big plays. The teams’ receivers can’t back down from physical contact. That’s how the Colts slowed them last week, bumping them on the line or a couple of yards off it.
2. Obtain better field position
Sure the Broncos can drive 80+ yards in under two minutes, but why make it that difficult? Against the Colts, the team started 11 of their 17 drives from their own 20-yard line or worse. Just 10 points were scored off of those 11 drives. The Redskins’ special teams has given up three returns for touchdowns so Trindon Holliday needs to take advantage of the group and put the Broncos in better scoring position.
3. Bring the pressure early and often
The Broncos’ defense seems to step on the gas only when the game is on the line. They’re getting the bulk of their sacks in the second half, but allow opposing quarterbacks to move freely around the pocket early on. That won’t fly against RG-III. The Broncos are 28th in points allowed, 30th in yards per game allowed, and 32nd in pass yards allowed. Pressure needs to come from somewhere, and it all starts up front.
4. Adjust well to more offensive line shifts
It looks unlikely that right guard Chris Kuper will play on Sunday since he was held out of Wednesday’s practice and participated on a limited basis on Thursday. That means Louis Vasquez would move back over to his original right guard spot and the team would insert Winston Justice into Orlando Franklin’s spot at right tackle. The Broncos gave up four sacks last week after only giving up five all season prior to that.
5. Win the turnover battle
Eight turnovers (or nine if you ask John Fox about that safety last week) in their last three games, the Broncos need to hold onto the ball. Giving an offense that’s catching fire like the Redskins more opportunities could spell disaster.