Not to crowd in on HillisRanUOver, but I am tired of people going on and on about the Broncos remaining schedule being "Brutal", or "Ridiculous", or some other adjective roughly meaning the same as difficult. It just seems to me that people have not been paying attention to anything that has been going on in the NFL this season, or even before this season started. When the schedule was released, after the 2008-2009 season, the Broncos schedule ranked 19th on the strength of schedule rating as posted by ESPN. 19th!! The Broncos schedule is not even in the top half of the league. So now games have been played, patterns are starting to emerge, strengths/weaknesses are becoming apparent, so now is the Broncos remaining schedule "Brutal"? I don't think so, and if you want to know why read on.
The next game we play is at San Diego. They are currently 2-2; 2nd in the AFC West. Their 2 wins have come against The Raiders and The Dolphins. Their two losses against The Ravens and The Steelers. This team is not an awful team, they are still quite potent on offense, but their defense has fallen greatly from the past few years, especially in line play. At Most I could call this a trap game, a game we should win, but its a divisional game, a must win for the Chargers, its away, and the Chargers are coming off of a bye week, so the Broncos cannot rest on their Laurels, but this a game the Broncos should win, not one that will be an upset if we do. This is definitely a trap game if I've ever seen one, but I think the Chargers have more to be afraid of.
Week 7 Bye
Week 8 the Broncos play at Baltimore. They are currently 3-2, having beat KC, San Diego, and Cleveland, and losing to the Patriots and the Bengals. Now I hate to apply logical operators to the NFL but this team lost to 2 teams that we have already beaten this season. So you could say well we beat the Patriots/Bengals and those teams beat the Ravens, so the Broncos should beat the Ravens, but this game looks even better once you dig deeper. First, we'll be coming off of a bye week, and will have film on two teams that have found a way to beat the ravens to absorb and learn from. Secondly, Baltimore's offensive performance has been terribly inconsistent, with passing and rushing levels all over the place, and I can see the Denver secondary giving Flacco fits. Again, this is the NFL, every week could be a potential loss, but if the Broncos win this one I wouldn't be surprised.
Week 9 the Broncos host Pittsburgh. They are currently 3-2, having beat Tennesse, San Diego, and Detroit, and losing to Chicago and Cincinnati. Pittsburgh does not look like the championship team of yesteryear. They have been riding almost exclusively on Rothlisberger's arm, and have demonstrated very little ability to play their trademark ball control, grind it out, offense. The one game where they looked like their old selves, was against San Diego. I think the Broncos can make this team one dimensional, and force Rothlisberger to beat the secondary, which we've seen time and time again that that is no easy task. On the other side of the ball the Steeler's Defense seems to be on its heels. It seems to have lost that attacking attitude that made the defense so successful last year. Whether this is from the loss of Polamalu(sp?) or is a deeper rooted problem; this D can be taken advantage of. Considering that this is a home game for the Broncos, and the issues listed above, I would be surprised if Denver loses this game.
Week 10 sends us to Washintgon. They are currently 2-3, having beat St. Louis and Tampa Bay, and losing to the Giants, Detroit, and Carolina. I don't think I have to go into much explanation why I think the Broncos will beat this team. I personally have counted this as a win from the beginning of the season, and the season so far has only reinforced this thought. Their offense is really not productive at all. Portis hasn't had a 100 yard game yet, they have only had one game with a 100yd receiver and they haven't had a game scoring 20 or more points yet. Considering that the teams they've played, besides the Giants, are occupying their divisions cellar, I would consider it an upset if the Broncos lost this game.
Week 11the Broncos host the Chargers, see above, and then add a +1 for being at home.
Week 12 the Broncos host the Giants. This is a tough game. The Giants currently have a D to match our own, 1st in yards, 2nd in points allowed, and the loss of Plaxico has only made Manning better in my opinion. This is a team that if we beat, will feel as good as beating the Pats. I am honestly expecting a loss here, but not a we got ran over by a freight train loss, more of a well fought good game between two good teams.
The Colts looked a little out of sync to begin the season, but have clearly hit their stride the last 3 games. I am really excited to see how our secondary stacks up against the array of receivers the Colts have, as well as how we adjust to keep Dallas Clark out of the game. The Colts really have used much of their running game, having yet to have a 100 yd rusher in any game, but they have two backs that can hurt you if you let them. Not to mention the Colts just seem to have our number lately, sort of how we seem to have the Patriots. Add in that its on Indy's home turf and I see this much like the Giants game. I would be ecstatic if we one, but am honestly expecting a loss.
The Eagles are not looking as good as Indy, especially in their loss to New Orleans, but they have throughly beaten teams that they should. Like Pittsburgh, Philly has had problems establishing a running game, and have relied on their quarterback and receivers to score the points. I think this works in the Broncos favor, and foresee quite a few sacks of whoever the Eagles have playing QB. Throw in the fact that this is BDawks return game, and I know our D is going to be fired up. I honestly haven't seen enough to comment on Philly's D, but the Saints seemed to take it to them pretty good. If McD can exploit the same weaknesses or find new ones, I think we take it to Philly on their home turf.
The 3 games I haven't spoken to are against KC, which looked much better against Dallas, but I need to see a lot more before they can change my mind about the Broncos winning both of these games, and Oakland who we have already beat, and badly. No way are these "Brutal" games.
So in summary our remaining schedule includes 2 games that I think we will lose, 3 games that are winnable but we have to play like we have the last 5 weeks, and 6 games I think we should win, and will be disappointed if we don't. I guess I just don't see how that is a "Brutal" stretch of games.