Denver Broncos: Dark Horses To Watch For Sunday Night

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Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus (8) celebrates his field goal with punter Britton Colquitt (4) in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A kicker? Really?

Yes, indeed a kicker has made this list, but for good reason.

When the Broncos released Matt Prater back in early October, it sent out shock waves around the league.

The Denver Broncos, a team looking to get back to the Super Bowl, just cut the most efficient kicker the NFL has seen in some time. Prater was coming off of his best season yet, where he made 25/26 field goals and broke a historic record when he nailed a 64-yarder in Week 14.

Despite his four-game suspension, he seemed to be in-line for another productive season.

McManus was faring well in Prater’s absence but since he’s only a rookie, he was expected to go back to being just another kicker.

With Prater now gone, an immense amount of pressure has been lumped on him.

After all, he is kicking for the Super Bowl favorites. McManus can and most likely will decide a few games with his leg given the difficulty of the Broncos’ schedule going forward.

He’s connected on 6/7 field goals and hasn’t missed an extra point through his first five games, which is a good sign. McManus might not have Prater’s extraordinary leg strength but he’s showed that he’s capable of getting the job done.

He’ll get his first real chance to show off his skill set as a kicker with the Broncos playing host to the 49ers.

Sunday night football against an out-of-conference contender, who knows, maybe McManus will be called upon to lift his team to victory in the clutch.