Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
I have a few pet peeves. OK, well more than a few. Least of which is the media, especially the four-letter network, trying to label a meaningless preseason game between two teams that met in the previous post season as a “rematch” or “revenge game”. So can you guess how annoyed I am at the same four-letter network making something out of our beloved Denver Broncos returning to the “scene of the crime”, eight months after a devastating loss in Super Bowl XLVIII? Please, stop it! I understand that it’s your job to hype a game, that should otherwise be a very one sided affair, as a meaningful exorcism of evil ghosts that must be extracted in order for Peyton Manning and the Broncos can rid their collective consciousness of an emotional impediment en route to Super Bowl XLIX.
Well, there are a few differences in this week’s matchup against the New York Jets. First of all, this is just your garden variety, regular season road game that has meaning, but not all-or-nothing meaning. Next, the opponent is nowhere close to being the daunting opposition that we faced on February 2nd of this year. Lastly, as expected, our guys are not going into MetLife Stadium looking back. Rather, they are treating this game as a business trip…period! The Jets are just a rung on the ladder that leads to postseason positioning. So please stop making a Rocky Mountain out of a mole hill. I can’t speak for other nations or universes, but Broncos Country is not interested in having our intelligence insulted.
So what can we expect from the week 7 tilt in the swamps of Jersey? I would imagine that the offense might take a few drives to get untracked against a relatively imposing Jets front seven. Once PFM gets used to what the Jets are giving him and the offense, it should be back to business as usual. One thing to keep an eye on is Manning’s pursuit of the all-time TD pass record. He is five TD passes behind Brett Favre for a share of the ultimate individual quarterback record. It seems to me that when PFM is flirting with records, he can manipulate when and where he can tie/break them. That said, I would not expect more than 5 TD passes this week from Peyton because our week 8 matchup is on national television (Sunday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers) at home. Then again, if he throws 5 TD passes, that will be more than enough to come away with a W.
Also look for more attempts at establishing the running game. I certainly don’t see much success early in the game, but I believe that a tired Jets defense will offer up significant holes late in the game as Denver is putting the game on ice.
Look for Emmanuel Sanders to have a big day. The Jets like to line up their defensive backs about 10 yards off the receivers. So early, you should see the Denver offense taking full advantage of what is given. At some point, their DBs will have to line up closer to the receivers to try to jam them and impede their route running. And that will be when Sanders shows why he’s an upgrade to Eric Decker. You can add Demaryius Thomas to that list of Manning targets that should exploit a very weak Jets secondary. He and PFM seemed to get reacquainted last week against the Arizona Cardinals, earning Thomas AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The Jets have one of the most putrid offenses in the NFL. As such, I am expecting a coming out party for the Von Miller/DeMarcus Ware sack exchange. New York can run the football, but at some point they are going to have to throw it. I am going out on a limb and advising anybody who has the Broncos defense on their fantasy team to ride them to victory this week.
I realize that I am putting the cart before the horse here, but if the Jets’ offense was even in the same zip code as their defense, we would have much more cause for concern. There are a couple of intangibles the Broncos are facing in the Jets this week. The Jets have a short week after today as they prepare for division rival, the New England Patriots on Thursday night. I can’t imagine that any team could possibly look past Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but a divisional rival such as the Patriots could be one of the few reasons to do so. Also, nobody’s seat (nor tootsie fetish) in the coaching ranks is hotter than that of Rex Ryan. A combination of big losses, four days apart, a 1-6 record, and 10 days between the Patriots game and their next tilt against a much improved Buffalo Bills team could be the perfect time to make a coaching change. so the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets, certainly have a big emotional investment in today’s game and that is probably our biggest concern. However, it’s not enough to prevent the Broncos from improving to 4-1.