After vanquishing the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers in successive weeks, the Denver Broncos find themselves in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC at 5-6.
The 24-17 win over the Steelers was one that caused me to think the Broncos can make a run. Despite giving up 527 yards to an explosive Pittsburgh offense, they only surrendered 17 points. One of the reasons why was a blocked field goal by third-year free safety Justin Simmons.
Now, one of my illustrious Twitter followers is Simmons’ mother, Kimberly, who shed some insights on why he’s such a great jumper on his blocked field goals.
You see, boys and girls, that’s what real journalism looks like. You ask questions and you get the most amazing answers!
Incidentally, Simmons has three blocked kicks in his career now, tying him for the second-most in the NFL since 2016.
Anyway, it bears mentioning that Broncos signal-caller Case Keenum has finally figured things out.
Keenum has now thrown for 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, none of which have come since an October 28 loss at Kansas City. Our blog boss, Sayre Bedinger sheds some light upon this important subject.
Meanwhile, the Broncos have caught a break at Cincinnati with Bengals signal-caller Andy Dalton sidelined for the season with a thumb injury. There will be more on this later on so stay tuned.
The Broncos lead the Bengals 21-10 all-time in a series dating back to 1968. Incidentally, despite the Broncos’ struggles in the early broadcast window in their history, they are 8-7 all-time at Cincinnati.
The Vegas oddsmakers are also bullish on the Broncos as they are anywhere from a 4.5-5.5-point favorite.
Things are definitely propitious for them with facing Dalton’s understudy, Jeff Driskel. Driskel did put up good numbers against the Browns last Sunday. However, his 17-29, 155 yard, TD performance came primarily in garbage time when Cleveland led by four scores.
In getting down to brass tacks, this is really a game the Broncos should win. If they really are the playoff team they’ve shown signs they can be, this is a game they need to win.
The Broncos would be wise, as they are every other week, to not turn the ball over. This is the one area where Cincinnati is statistically decent. They are +1 in turnover margin, tied for 17th in the NFL.
The Broncos have gotten much better at turning opponents over and not turning the ball over themselves. In the wins over the Chargers and Steelers, they were +6 cumulatively and did not turn the ball over once in either victory.
If the Broncos want to get their sixth win of the season at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday, they need to win the turnover battle again.
While the Cincinnati offense is tied for 12th in the NFL in amassing 25.1 points per game, this is because Dalton was under center.
With Driskel at the helm, it is speculative at best for me to suggest they can put up these point totals although receiver A.J. Green was a full participant at Bengals practice Friday. We’ll have more information on this later.
Receiver Tyler Boyd (63 rec, 841 yards, 6 TD’s) is an amazing talent however, as is tailback Joe Mixon who ranks 9th in the NFL in rushing with 673 rushing yards and five scores.
Beyond this, the Bengals’ defense is a sieve. Other than in interceptions, which sees Cincinnati tie for sixth in the NFL with 11 picks, the defense is abysmal in every other way.
Therefore, while it sounds simple, the Broncos need to execute and find a way to overcome their usual early morning turmoil, to keep their postseason hopes alive.
If they are to be successful in this regard, tailback Royce Freeman (377 scrimmage yards, five total touchdowns), should be given more opportunities. Once again, here is Bedinger, who has more information on this.
Also, with receiver Emmanuel Sanders (902 scrimmage yards, five total touchdowns) continuing to star, his fellow Southern Methodist alum, Courtland Sutton, may once again be given the chance to show his skill set.
Incidentally, Sanders is only 25 receiving yards short of 5,000 receving yards as a Bronco. If he reaches this mark, he will be the 10th receiver in franchise history to reach that number. As we go for the hat trick, Bedinger portends that Sutton’s time for stardom may be close at hand.
As has been customary lately, his 19.7 yards per reception rank first in the NFL. If the Broncos can find a way to use him more, defenses will have to be on the lookout.
The true star of this offense, however, remains star rookie tailack Phililp Lindsay. He currently has 967 yards from scrimmage and only needs 33 scrimmage yards to become the eighth rookie in franchise history to reach the 1,000-yard threshold.
A win Sunday at Cincinnati also means owner Pat Bowlen will surpass the late Art Modell for the fourth-most overall wins among modern-day football owners.
If cornerback Chris Harris Jr. intercepts a pass Sunday, this will be the 20th of his career. If he reaches this plateau, he would be the 12th player in franchise history to achieve the distinction.
Outside linebacker Von Miller needs one sack to tie Chicago Bears great Steve McMichael for 41st all-time with 95 sacks. He also needs at least half a sack Sunday to tie for the longest sack streak of his career. This currently stands at seven consecutive games with a sack.
In short, if the Broncos execute, they should win this game as I have heretofore said, especially if they take care of the football.
Date: Sunday Dec.2, 2018
Start Time: 11:00 am MST
Location: Paul Brown Stadium
TV Info: CBS (506sports.com for listings nationwide)
Announcers: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analyst)
Thanks so much to Predominantly Orange for providing this!
As you can see, the Bengals will likely have their star receiver, Green, while outside linebacker Brandon Marshall remains a question mark for the Broncos. If Marshall cannot go, understudy Josey Jewell has shown his worth. The fourth-round draft pick out of Iowa has 24 solo tackles and two passes defensed.
My loyal Twitter follower, Randi Rico, a meteorologist with Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT has this forecast for us, which is quite propitious for December.
62 degrees in December? Are you kidding me? The Broncos appear to have caught another break.
Anyway, this is your game thread. Tell your friends about us. GO BRONCOS!!!