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Denver Broncos @ New Orleans Saints
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Ah, crossroads… doesn’t it feel like this week finds the Broncos at the crossroads of their season? It does feel that way, though that feeling may not be true. Look, win, and the Broncos are 7-3 at their Bye Week and feeling good about their chances at a playoff birth and challenging again for the division title. Lose and they are 6-4 with more questions than answers. Don’t forget, though, that the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos lost to Kansas City at home this same week last year in a spectacular flame out. We know how that season ended. Will this one end the same way?
So, the Saints game isn’t truly a “must win” but it would be nice to hit the Bye with a “W”. That’s going to be a tall order.
KEY MATCH UP
The Broncos must look RUN. They have to run on offense. They have to stop the run on defense. If they don’t do those two things, the Saints will have their way with them. Period.
The offense must limit the 3 and outs. They are leading the league in that category and it’s killing them not only on offense, but defensively as well. A banged up defense will have enough of a challenge handling any team without being on the field for 40 plus minutes. Did you know the Broncos only had ONE DRIVE in the third quarter in their loss to the Raiders last Sunday night?
And, on the other side of the ball, they have to stop the run. If the offense performs better and scores a touchdown or two, the defense can get back to dominance. Complimentary football, people.
You did see Kapri Bibbs on his fourth quarter touchdown run last week, didn’t you? So did I. His effort on the pitch and run reminded me of CJ Anderson, heart and will no matter the score. I have to believe that run will net him more time with the ball in his hands this week and that may – may – help awake a moribund Broncos running game.
We better hope something does.
This one is going to be tough. The Broncos are significantly undermanned on defense. The Saints are the number one offense in the league. The Saints are at home. This game is in the dreaded 11:00 MST time slot. The Broncos are limping toward the break.
My head tells me Saints. My heart, well, it does, too.
What I want to remember is the season isn’t over if the Broncos lose Sunday. There are 6 more games, all of them against conference foes, half of them against division foes. Win or lose, the Broncos won’t be out of this thing on Sunday.
I’ll tell myself that after they lose, because I think they will.