Truth be told: NOT a fan of the Denver Broncos. Even though they did win me some serious cash (for a teenager still living on allowance) when they beat the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. This loathing comes from being a (half)lifelong rival of the AFC West.
Of course, ever since we were banished to the doldrums that are the NFC West, the hatred of the Broncos hasn’t quite been the same. They ran their course with Elway, sucked a lot with Jake Plummer, and now they’ve got Kyle Orton coming off an 8-8 record that’s about as improbable as it gets. After the freak hail mary-esque win in Cincinnati, they ripped off 5 more wins to start the season 6-0. What followed were 4 losses where they looked entirely outmatched. At 8-4, they were still in prime territory to make the playoffs, but then they subsequently lost their last games in an honest effort to give the Seahawks the 14th pick in this past draft (we had their draft pick because they’re idiots and traded it away).
On the plus side, every four years, we get to re-live the old AFC West rivalries thanks to the rigid NFL scheduling format. So here we are, heading back into Denver where surely they’ve kicked our asses about a million times.
So, what are we up against? Well, pretty much the same Broncos team as last year. If they can give Orton time, he’s adequate enough to win you some ballgames. If their offensive line – inexperienced/bad in sections – allows us to do our thing, Orton can easily be pressured into mistakes.
So, pretty much, they’re the Seattle Seahawks.
I’m already on record as saying that this whole game comes down to Home Field Advantage; I have little doubt that the Seahawks could win this one if it were being played in Qwest. “Could” being the operative word here. Kinda like the Seahawks “could” have beaten the Bears in Qwest last year, but found a way through mistakes to blow it.
The Denver Broncos WILL win in Mile High. How much is yet to be determined.
This could be a blowout where they win by three touchdowns, or it could be a squeaker where we drive down with a chance to win it only to turn it over on downs. But the Broncos will be just competent enough – whose corners will be able to negate the effectiveness of a Mike Williams – while our running game being just INcompetent enough for us to pretty much never get a first down.
I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt I am. I refuse to buy into any semblance of hype after a week 1 shocker against the 49ers. This team rides the coattails of the 12th Man more than any team I’ve ever seen before; winning outside of Qwest Field is pretty much impossible.
What do we have going for us? Well, their O-line sounds like it’s not yet in mid-season form, so that could bode well. Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal, and Jabar Gaffney don’t really blow me away. At all. Nor, really, do their running backs inspire fear. I think this is a team we could conceivably hold to field goals. Whether we do or not is another matter.
We can’t come out with a rash of 3-and-outs like we did vs. San Fran. We can’t get killed in the first half time of possession and expect our defense NOT to be fatigued. This is Denver, after all. We don’t get to train there for half the year. Fortunately, Jacksonville didn’t appear to have much trouble last week. And winning in Jacksonville can’t be that hard; they never have anyone in the stands! The Jags ran well enough and managed zero turnovers and they won the game. You turn the ball over to Denver, you’re just begging to get blown out.
I still predict a 31-10 defeat this week. However, if we go in there and play like we did against the 49ers, you can officially pour me a tall, cool glass of Seahawks Blue Kool Aid. Because it’ll be sweltering in Seattle by then, and I’ll be thirsty for some motherfucking football!