Posted Mon Sep 15th by Ian Henson
Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is a notorious work-a-holic, rumored to research opponents weeks, if not months ahead of time. Instead of covering the entire NFL, what we at The Denver Bronco Talk Blog are doing is covering the NFL that you should care about. Every opponent the Denver Broncos face this season will get full weekly coverage from the first Sunday until the Broncos play them. As fans you will be able to focus on which player/team did what from week-to-week. Heck, you might even look better than Shanahan when the Broncos face off against a team that you’ve been scouting for the last six weeks.
Week 2 San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers‘ offense was intense, but not until the second-half. Philip Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards going into the Monday night game– if that means anything. Not proof enough? Keep reading… Rivers picked Denver’s nickle back Karl Paymah apart. The Broncos also stayed true to team history, allowing another backup Chargers’ running back to have a career game. The Chargers were often mentioned amongst the possible AFC Super Bowl contenders in preseason. Not today though, today was that given Sunday for the Denver Broncos.
Week 3 New Orleans Saints
News broke just before the game that the Saints had extended head coach Sean Payton‘s contract (by five years). It was also reported early on Sunday that there were some tough decisions made this past off-season on the fate of Deuce McAllister. The Saints didn’t quite look like the offensive juggernaut that they were in week one, that isn’t to say that the Washington Redskins‘ defense shut them out completely. However, the Saints’ first touchdown came off field position provided by a botched punt return by Antwaan Randle El, giving New Orleans the ball on the one-yard line. The Saints’ offense folded under the pressure of the Redskins’ onslaught. It is worth mentioning that the Saints were playing without three key players and they lost corner Aaron Glenn in the third quarter. Where the Broncos should anticipate trouble is with Reggie Bush, not for his offensive abilities, but for his special teams abilities.
Much, much more analysis will be available to fans throughout the week, right here on Bronco Talk.
Week 4 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Backup quarterback Damon Huard came in to replace the injured Brodie Croyle, then Tyler Thigpen came in to relieve Huard, then wide receiver Marques Hagans came in to relieve Thigpen, going one of one for five yards. After that the Chiefs seemed to simply tread water, with Thigpen back at the helm. By no means did the Oakland Raiders look impressive, going into the third quarter JaMarcus Russell was three of 14 for 30 yards. Then mid-third quarter, the Raiders seemed to hit the nitro button, Darren McFadden launched into the century mark, yardage wise, in two well timed runs. Kansas City’s young defense looks anemic and they’re not to get much better by week 4.
Week 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Backup quarterback (and former Denver Bronco) Brian Griese started in place of the (possibly) injured Jeff Garcia, amongst rumors that the Buccaneers had offered Garcia to the San Francisco 49ers. It’s an educated guess, but my best guess is that Griese will most likely face off against his mentor Mike Shanahan in week five. Griese was very unspectacular at quarterback, finishing with 160-yards on 18 passes and 31 attempts. It was Tampa Bay’s fierce defense that ultimately led them to the win over the one-game wonder Atlanta Falcons. Buccaneers defensive end Gaines Adams became Falcons’ rookie quarterback Matt Ryan’s personal nightmare. Defense won this game for Tampa, not offense, though Earnest Graham deserves the game ball for his 68-yard touchdown, late in the 4th quarter.
Week 6 Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars allowed Marshawn Lynch to get in for a touchdown very early in the game. The Jaguars’ defense couldn’t stop anything that the Buffalo Bills offense threw at them (literally). Their defense, which is the defense that I, as a Bronco fan, fear the most, did not have a prime showing. The Jaguars’ special teams is worth a very long study, as they converted an onside kick in the third quarter. Cornerback Brian Williams was all over the field and finished with eight tackles for the Jags.
Week 7 @ New England Patriots
Obviously the story is Matt Cassel, but I literally had two screens in front of me, the Broncos/Chargers game and the Jets/Patriots game. The story is definitely not Matt Cassel, the New England Patriots will win this season despite themselves. I’m really not going after Pats fans (as I will tell you in NYC the San Diego fans are 40 times more obnoxious than the Pats fans), they have got to get their running game in order. The Pats have beat two of the worst teams in the NFL and barely in week one and two. They can thank their lucky stars that they have the easiest strength of schedule in the NFL. However, the moment they face-off against the Pittsburgh Steelers or Indianapolis Colts… or Denver Broncos, they’re screwed.
Week 8 Bye Week
Week 9 Miami Dolphins
These guys, no, they’re not the worst in the league. I think that Kansas City with a third-string quarterback may be the worst in the league. However, the Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner went 12 passes for 293 yards to his top two recievers, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, for three touchdowns. What more can I say? Chad Pennington went ten of 20 for 112 yards and Ricky Williams/Ronnie Brown split for 53 total yards and one touchdown. This is the team that, last week, took the New York Jets to the last play, by the way.
Week 10 @ Cleveland Browns
It became public that the Pittsburgh Steelers had quietly complained about the odd coincidence of their communication systems always having problems whenever they play in Cleveland. Especially in the quarterback’s helmet. Throughout most of the first-half Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was running to and from the sideline, coincidence? Probably not. Browns quarterback Derek Anderson simply couldn’t get it clicking against Pittsburgh’s secondary. Pressure led to Anderson throwing two interceptions before halftime and footsteps led to tight ends Kellen Winslow’s low production. The Browns have, as of now, not proven that they are worthy of the attributes adorned to them. They are not the surprise team in the AFC, Denver is.
Week 11 @ Atlanta Falcons
Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan and career backup running back Michael Turner might have been sexy picks following week one, but they lost a hell of a lot of steam in week two going up against an actual defense. Ryan went zero for eight and two interceptions on the Falcons’ first four drives. He ended on 13 of 33 with 158 yards, Turner had 42 yards on 14 carries. Warrick Dunn made the Falcons look like hell, ’nuff said.
Week 12 Oakland Raiders
Going into the third quarter the two-headed monster of Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas had combined for 18 rushes and 84 yards. Then McFadden went crazy, but the thing is, he went crazy on the Kansas City Chiefs defense. Which as of this moment, who cares, they’re possibly the worst defense in the league. I’m glad that Lane Kiffin gets to keep his job for another week. In fact, I hope that he (Lane Kiffin) wins (nearly) every week this season… It will show Al Davis that his ways are archaic, then maybe he (Davis) can step down. In reality, no, Al Davis, keep your Raiders as long as you can, you have another top five pick coming next year!
Week 13 @ New York Jets
I wasn’t impressed with Brett Favre last week and this week he was going up against the New England Patriots defense. Wasn’t impressed again. You can only shine a piece of **** so much before you realize that it’s still just a turd. The Jets are still one of the worst teams in the AFC, make no mistake about it, they just have a Hall of Fame quarterback now. Yes, running back Thomas Jones went 70 yards on 17 rushes, he’s going to do that, but Favre isn’t enough to get this team in order. The defense needs to be able to stop an offensive push, especially against the Patriots with their second-string, over-achieving quarterback. They simply could not, what happens when they play an actual quarterback?
Week 14 @ Kansas City Chiefs
These guys need to get better in basically every major category possible. If they need some advice, throw the ball to Tony Gonzalez, like the Broncos throw the ball to Brandon Marshall… Larry Johnson can spell Gonzalez, whether it be by running the ball or by catching the ball.
Week 15 @ Carolina Panthers
The surprise team of the NFL? Possibly, though the Denver Broncos now average 40 points per game. The Carolina Panthers may be the real cardiac kids of the NFL. How to stop them? Not sure, give us a couple weeks, because no one’s managed to do it yet. In the fourth-quarter, these guys own.
Week 16 Buffalo Bills
Trent Edwards completed his first ten passes against the Jacksonville defense. Marshawn Lynch scored basically the second time that he touched the ball, but he was ineffective for the rest of the game. If the Broncos are able to neutralize Lynch as they did Tomlinson, the Bills passing game can be tamed.
Week 17 @ San Diego Chargers
What’s the over/under that this game will matter? If it does, in fact matter, expect Tomlinson to play and play well, also expect whatever game plan that the Chargers used in the second-half to be applied in the first-half. If Denver hand’t have scored some much in the first-half, the Broncos would not have won the game.
In my debriefing for Week 2 in the NFL,wow! What a week, what were your surprises? Anyone see the Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts? Are the Panthers going to go all the way to the Super Bowl in the NFC? After Monday Night Football, maybe the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys look like the team to beat in the NFC. Who is the best team in the AFC as it stands now?