Dec 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Bryce Brown (35) is tackled by Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Bills 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
If there is one thing the Denver Broncos defense have excelled in so far this season, it would be the ability to stop the running game. However, on a huge Monday Night game in prime time, they could be tested to the limits.
The Cincinnati Bengals run offense is one of the best in the league. The team averages a little over 130 yards a game on the ground, which is good for sixth in the NFL. And it is not just one player who is doing all of the work for the Bengals rushing attack. The run defense for the Denver Broncos have to watch out for both Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, who have developed into quite the running back tandem. Both running backs have amassed 636 and 877 yards respectively. They are a big key to why the Bengals are in the discussion for the playoffs.
The run defense by the Denver Broncos will need to bring their A game against the Bengals. Jeremy Hill is having quite the year in his rookie campaign and Giovani Bernard can make a play at any given time. The run defense by the Broncos has to force Andy Dalton to win the game by shutting down the running attack. The Bengals have not been impressive passing the ball this season, averaging a bit over 218 yards a game.
The front four could be busy early and often. It is up to Terrance Knighton, Derek Wolfe, Demarcus Ware, and Sylvester Willams to make sure that both of those running backs do not get by them and run freely into the secondary. If Brandon Marshall becomes available in the game, he would be an important part to the run defense because of how well he can bring the ball carrier down.
This appears to be one of those games that could be a lot closer than people think, but with how the Bengals have struggled in prime time this year, and facing a strong run defense that could be the kryptonite to Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, they could be in for a long night. The X-factor for the Broncos this time around in their quest to lock up a first round bye is that stellar run defense.