Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Denver, 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Peyton Manning should play as we have come to expect.
The Denver Broncos offense should more resemble that of last season.
The Denver defense should continue to show drastic improvement over last season.
As we have all come to know about the NFL, “should” and “will” are two different things.
The Broncos should have at least made the Super Bowl competitive. The Denver team from from two seasons ago that lost to the Baltimore Ravens should have won the Super Bowl. The John Elway-led Broncos of the mid 1990s should have won back-to-back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Knowing what we know about the NFL, the above scenarios that “should happen” for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals will happen.
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The return of Danny Trevathan is a huge reason why. The leader of the Broncos defense will kindle his teammates’ fire. That side of the ball has played well the first three games of the season, and it will only get better with the return of the middle linebacker.
As I said earlier this week, Trevathan may not have an impact with his play since he’s missed all three games and most of the preseason with a leg injury, but he will have the defense in the right spots to make plays.
The Denver pass rush will take another stride. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller have combined for 4.5 sacks going into Sunday’s game. The bye week did wonders in helping both get their legs under them and get accustomed to each other and the guys on the defensive line. The return of Trevathan helps in this regard as well because he’s another guy the offensive line has to prepare for on the chance he’s sent on a blitz. I would expect a big game out of both Ware and Miller on Sunday.
One of the strengths for this defense is the secondary. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but that aspect of the defense will get better as well; especially rookie cornerback Bradley Roby who was able to catch his breath after having this week off. Given how he played the first three games, it should boost his confidence the rest of the season.
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby (29) defends Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) during the game at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Denver 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Manning and the offense will fire on all cylinders again. Whether that results in Denver dropping 40 or 50 points on the Cardinals doesn’t mean that much. It would be nice, but more important is that the offense doesn’t sputter as it has at times. Yes, the season is still young, but the bye week should (there’s that word again) serve as a wake-up call for the offense. It’s more important to play a complete game than put up a 50-burger.
The Broncos need to play off the strengths of the offense. That means have the pass setup the run. Get the offense clicking, gain some confidence, make some big plays and get the Arizona defense on its heels. That’s when Adam Gase can start running the football. The Broncos offense is successful when it is unpredictable. When Gase calls run plays on first-and-10, that’s not unpredictable.
The Cardinals are scrappy. That’s why the last two keys are so important. Don’t allow Arizona to stay in the game and start to think “we can beat Denver.” The Broncos need to come as they did against Kansas City and go vertical. Only this time around, don’t stop after that one play. Keep doing it. Then do it again. And then some more.
All of those things should happen for Denver on Sunday at Mile High.
The Broncos just need to play up to their potential, and they will.
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (99) tackles Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Denver, 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports