January 26, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Rice tight end Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons (88) catches a pass against Team Sanders linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers (59, right) during the first quarter of the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Gonzalez was a thorn in the side of the Denver Broncos for years. Even as a member of the Falcons, he was unstoppable (see: Broncos vs. Falcons on MNF from 2012).
But Gonzalez, despite his many years of scheming to beat the Broncos, can’t see a way this team gets beat in 2014.
Neither can we.
The Broncos will have to beat themselves on any given Sunday, plain and simple. It’s the NFL, and stuff happens all the time. It’s why no team since the 1972 Dolphins has won every game in a single season, even though the New England Patriots came dangerously close in 2007 when they were beaten on one of the craziest plays in league history.
Gonzalez, in talking to Newsday, says this Broncos team is built like that Patriots team from seven years ago.
"“Right now, Denver has a team built just like the New England Patriots back when they went undefeated [in the 2007 regular season],” said Gonzalez, the former All-Pro tight end who retired after last season and is an NFL analyst for CBS.“In looking at Denver in the preseason and Peyton Manning’s command of that offense, he’ll pick up right where he left off last year. And defensively, they went out like good organizations do and addressed their weaknesses.”"
And that’s not all.
"“I think it’s going to be a Denver-Seattle rematch in the Super Bowl,” Gonzalez said. “And I would go with Denver this time. Giving Peyton two shots at it, to go against the same team, I’ll take Peyton. He didn’t have his All-Pro left tackle [Ryan Clady] against them last year [in Seattle’s 43-8 romp] and they didn’t have their right corner [Chris Harris].“If they can stay healthy, how do you beat this team?” Gonzalez said. “They’re balanced on both sides of the ball. They can run, they can pass, they can stop the run and they can stop the pass now on a consistent basis. It’s going to be very, very tough to beat them.“You better play mistake-free football and come up with some luck plays, just like New England got beat by a luck play against the Giants in the Super Bowl. That’s the only reason they got beat. If you don’t have that play, it’s over.”"
It’s a really strong statement from one of the smartest players to ever play the game. Gonzalez is a sure-fire Hall of Famer at his earliest eligibility, and despite how much criticism this is going to receive from a ‘realistic’ standpoint, he’s got valid points.
The Broncos have no real weaknesses. They are stacked on both sides of the ball, and they have some of the best special teams players in the NFL. The greatest asset of course is Peyton Manning, but the depth of the roster is really astonishing.
Time will tell, but personally, I’m on record with being in complete agreement with Gonzalez on this one.