The Broncos’ Offensive Line
There is a strong chance that the tide of this game comes down to the performance of the Broncos’ offensive line. It is known that the Broncos’ line is one of the poorest in the league, and it is not a good matchup when they are paired against one of the best front sevens and pass rushes in the league.
Add this to Garett Bolles likely lining up against Everson Griffen, and this feels like a potential recipe for disaster. If the Broncos’ line cannot perform or create time for Brandon Allen, or create holes for Phillip Lindsay, this offense will not be able to get anything going, Allen could have a long day, and the Denver Broncos could struggle to get points put on the board.
However, if the offensive line can put up a surprise and keep the Minnesota front seven at bay, this could be a completely different ball game. The Vikings could be the one on the defensive much of the day.
With Thielen being out, if the Broncos’ secondary can quickly quiet down the Vikings’ receivers, Mike Zimmer and Co. will look to put the ball in Dalvin Cook’s hands. While the Broncos’ front seven and run defense has looked like a completely new group after the embarrassing performance allowed by Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook is a serious weapon to the Vikings’ offense.
If the Vikings’ offense can establish itself early on by running the ball, they could back the Broncos up against the wall quickly and ground and pound their way to a victory. The Broncos’ front seven must announce their presence early on and force both Cook and QB Kirk Cousins into discomfort.