First I LOVE HT's Chalk Talks; the best stuff on the web. But I want throw out what I see as the keys to a Broncos victory on Sunday, and subsequent playoff birth, and see what everyone else has to say.
Let's start with the offensive game plan. On defense the Bills seem to play a version of a a two-deep zone. They have stout tackles but their ends are only average. The linebackers are serviceable but nothing special. CB Terrence McGee and SS Donte Whitner are quality players but rookie Leodis McKelvin is scheduled to start at the opposite corner. Defensively the Bills have two glaring weaknesses: their linebackers are slow in pass coverage and the can't buy a sack with their front four. I see the keys for the Broncos on offense as using play action to freeze the linebackers then attacking the seems with Sheffler and Graham. This means the Broncos MUST run enough to sell the play-action. Then they may be able to exploit adjustment by the safeties with passes to the edge to Marshall and Royal. In obvious passing situations the Bills will either have to sit back in their zone, or blitz to get pressure. Cutler has proved recently that when he has time he can pick apart a zone. If the Bills blitz, I look for the Broncos to capitalize with screens sweeps and draws (though they don't draw often).
On defense the key for the Broncos is simple; contain Lynch and Evans. Not much different than last week, except that Lee Evans isn't Steve Smith and the Broncos may have Champ back. Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I wonder if we shouldn't move DJ back to Sam so Woodyard can play Will, but this week that may not matter. While Edwards looked like an all-pro for the first six games this season, he had already reverted to the mean before injuring his groin. Lynch is a beast, but has been nursing a should injury. This may be a good week to use the 4-4 that failed last week against Carolina, especially if Champ is able to play. Load up against the run and force Edwards to pass. When he does, the Broncos need to get pressure up the middle; make Edwards move around. Test that groin injury.
Finally, on ST the Bills present a challenge. McKelvin is the #3 kick returner and Roscoe Parrish is the #1 punt returner. On what stands to be a cold day when offensive production can be difficult the Broncos must contain the Bills return units. The Bronco units are mediocre at best; too many returns turn into adventures.
I'm hoping the Broncos realize that this is, for all purposes, a playoff game. If they can't win on Sunday I question if they have what it take for the playoffs anyway.
This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR