Dec 6, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos fans react in the stands during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Denver won 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders take the field at Mile High on Sunday. This is going to be a key game for the Broncos as they will look to clinch a spot in the AFC Postseason with a win and a bit of help from other teams.
With the regular season three-quarters of the way completed, I want to once again thank all of the individuals whom I have had the honor to interview for this weekly piece. I enjoy learning new things and getting your insight on what you all think about the Broncos this season.
This segment has been very successful in my eyes and I could not be any happier to take part in these unique fanzone pieces. I have had the honor of talking to Broncos fans, writers, and analysis on things Broncos.
For this week, I sat down with Broncos fan Joyce Fisher. She is one of the handful of Denver Broncos fans that I have gotten the chance to know this season as we talk about anything American football related, especially our love for the Broncos.
I started by asking Joyce on her takes on last week’s game against the Chargers and how she thinks the Broncos stack up against the other teams in the league.
Dec 6, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) and cornerback Aqib Talib (21) celebrate after a defensive stop during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
“I am a big believer in Defense Wins Championships, so I think Denver stacks up very well. Looking back at the games we’ve played so far this season, it is easy to see our defense is responsible for several of the wins.”
“There were times where our offense struggled scoring points and it is a relief when your defense is able to get you the ball back quickly. With 41 sacks so far, it is clear to see our defense can make a huge difference in the game.”
I can agree with that Joyce. With how our offense struggled, especially early on, I think Broncos fans are glad to have a defense that can help the team win games. Wade Phillips has really turned that team around. Minus one game, the Broncos defense has done its job to keep the Broncos in games, but mostly win them.
The Broncos are currently banged up going into the Raiders game this weekend. I asked my friend Joyce what has led the Broncos to be so successful despite the injury bug going around.
“I think it was in The Denver Post where I read that Gary Kubiak makes a point to get the young players involved starting in training camp. He provides backups a share of first team reps which has obviously paid off big time.”
“We’ve had a lot of young players and back ups step up, and I have to believe some of that comes from the example and leadership of our starters. I mean, my 11 year old nephew Kaden already wants to be the next Von Miller, imagine being on the field, sidelines, and locker room with all the energy he exudes.”
“What an inspiring athlete, not to mention his interesting celebration dances. The back ups have a lot of good guys they have learned from. Todd Davis had a great week of practice according to Kubiak, so I’m excited to see how well he plays filling in for Danny Trevathan.”
With players like Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., Demarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward on the team, I will agree completely that the Broncos players are learning a lot from the first team players. And we have gotten to see players like Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray learn from them and apply it on the field, which has given the Broncos solid stats.
With this being a huge rivalry, I asked Joyce what her favorite memory between the Broncos and Raiders is.
“There are so many memories I have of the Broncos vs. Raiders rivalry, but I’m thinking more recent like earlier this year, I would say the sack and fumble by Von Miller on Derek Carr. I felt like it was a huge momentum shift in that game because at the time the Raiders were up 7-3.”
“Just the way Von did it, took the ball right out of Carr’s hands. Then in the same game, Chris Harris Jr. returned a fourth quarter interception for 75 yards. Huge effort by Denver’s defense in that game.”
I agree Joyce. That was an interesting game to see. I will not lie, but I was on the edge of my seat during that game earlier in the season. The offense could not get anything going, and it really made me nervous. But the defense, as she has stated, did its job to help the team win the game.
With the Broncos going up against a Raiders team that is better than their 5-7 record indicates, I asked Joyce which player(s) she thinks will be an X-Factor for the Broncos on Sunday.
“ Well, I’ve been talking so much defense that I feel I should pick an offensive player. With that said, I will say Emmanuel Sanders. I mean, seriously, this guy is larger than life. He’s got the heart of a lion. I always feel like with him on the field there is always a chance of a big play. The effort he give on each and every play is what I look forward to watching.”
“I hope he ends up being a Denver Bronco for a long time. Also, if I knew Demarcus Ware was playing at 100%, he would also be my X-Factor, but I’ll be happy even if he just takes some of the reps.”
Great minds think alike Joyce. I also had Sanders as one of my X-Factors in the preview article. I always have that sense that after a game where he does not get a whole lot of chances, he makes up for them in the next game. He was quiet in the Chicago game before he had a great one against the Patriots.
Dec 6, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) hands off to Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Denver won 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
So, Joyce, what is your final score for this game and do you have any bold predictions?
“24-14 Broncos. Bold predictions? How fun is that question? Last time we played the Raiders, it was Chris Harris Jr. for a 75 yard interception return for a touchdown, so this time I am going to say Aqib Talib has a big play to shift momentum in Denver’s favor.”
“That is what I love about this team and how they compete against each other to make everyone work harder. And remember, both Talib and Harris Jr. played for Kansas in college. Lots of bragging right there.”
Could not agree more Joyce. I also see Aqib Talib making some noise this weekend against the Raiders. And I want to thank you for taking the time out to sit and talk to me about the Broncos. Let’s make some noise this weekend and wrap up a spot in the playoffs. Go Broncos!