Force multiple turnovers
Dec 14, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) intercepts a pass intend for San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd (80) during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
On the road, in prime-time, against a playoff team, you cannot lose the turnover battle and expect to walk away with a win. On paper, this is a great matchup for the Broncos. The Bengals’ offensive strengths include wide receiver A.J. Green and rookie running back Jeremy Hill.
I watched the entire Browns/Bengals game last week. It was a game in which Green was basically shutdown by Joe Haden, which has been a consistent occurrence. But it didn’t matter. Hill ran roughshod all over the Browns run defense, leading them to a 30-0 win after losing earlier in the year to Cleveland 24-3.
The Bengals offense is no pushover, but the Broncos have the defensive personnel to stop just about anyone, including Cincinnati. While Hill had a near-career day against the Browns with 148 yards and two touchdowns, they also forced him to fumble twice, bringing his season total to four. The Broncos are tied for 26th in the league in forcing fumbles with five. But with guys like Brandon Marshall, Nate Irving, and Danny Trevathan not on hand to help in the run game, the Browns will have to dig deep to make some plays to take pressure off of replacements Steven Johnson, Todd Davis, and/or Corey Nelson/Lamin Barrow.
Denver should also get a chance to pick off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The narrative with Dalton is he’s struggled his whole career in prime-time games. The numbers support this theory, as he’s thrown seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in such games, with a putrid completion percentage of 53%. You can read more about his struggles here. Dalton will make poor decisions and throws and the Broncos have to take advantage like they have been all season, as they’re 8th in the league in team interceptions with 16.