I’ll leave for others to argue and debate the fashion in which the Denver Broncos got their win on Sunday afternoon. As with the players and coaches, my mind is already in Mile High Stadium where the New York Jets will be visiting for a nationally televised Thursday Night showdown. Each team will have just three short days to prepare and only two of those will be full practices. The Jets, coming off what has to be a rather embarrassing defeat against the New England Patriots Sunday Night, will be looking intently to go into Denver and come out with the only thing that keeps one foot on the playoff train... a win.
This will be a game of the must-have's, as the upcoming match will certainly be looked at as a ‘must win’ by each side. The short week to rest and heal will pale in comparison to the hunger and desperation players on both sides are likely to be feeling. Still, it could be argued and should probably be noted that the Jets may have gotten a little more bruised and battered than the Broncos did in their respective games this week. But hey, this is a Broncos site. And I'm biased.
The Jets are The New York Jets, home of loud-mouthed, obnoxious Head Coach Rex Ryan. They’re an East Coast power house, at least by reputation, and as such they tend to be looked upon with fear by fans getting ready to face them. It’s true, the Jets are no joke and they’ll be fighting for their post-season lives. Nothing about this game should be taken lightly. Nothing should be construed as easy. The Jets can be mean and physical, and they are a well coached team. The guy, Ryan, he may be a jackass, but incompetent he is not. Course, he's also not Bill Billichick. And these aren't the Green Bay Packers.
This team the Broncos face on Thursday is loaded with talent and has stars all over the field. On paper they probably win this game fairly easily. But they're still not the not the boogie man. They can be beaten. And the Broncos are nobody's stepping stone these days.
For the Broncos to come out with that much needed W against the big bad wolf of New York, they’ll need a lot things to go right. But they can win.
Starting QB Mark Sanchez has great name recognition, having been a rather recent first round draft pick for the always-in-the-news Jets, but don‘t get too caught up in the hoopla. He‘s nobody to fear. In fact, the Jets offense overall (23rd) is nothing to fear and are no better than ours (22nd). Sanchez isn't particularly great at passing (20th), nor are the Jets very good in the run-game (24th). When you pull the curtain back, the best thing the Jets offense has going for them is their defense, which generally gets them the ball back pretty quickly and scores points for them where it can. If this game comes down to Mark Sanchez and their offense, it likely means the Broncos kept it close at the very, very least.
And that's the game plan for the Broncos going into Thursday. Keep the game close and don't let them have short third-downs. As with the Chiefs, the idea is to force the Jets to throw the ball, allowing Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil the opportunity to create sacks and pressures and the much coveted turnovers they might create.
The bigger key, however, is likely to be the fundamental question as to whether or not the Jets find a way to stop this brand new ball-running juggernaut the boys in blue and orange have brought back from the days of black and white. Those of you looking for the playbook to be opened up, hoping to see Tim Tebow get the green light and turned loose, well be careful what you wish for. The Jets have magnificent corners and they like to bring the heat in the blitz game. Slinging the ball all around is probably a really bad idea for an epically raw QB going against one of the league’s best secondary’s. In fact, if it comes to that, it probably means it’s Tebow Time in the 4th, and that all else has failed.
Willis McGahee looks to be back against the Jets and with as much running as the Broncos like to do, it’s entirely possible that they’ll ring up Jeramiah Johnson from the practice squad to help fill in for the injured Knowshon Moreno. New York will have just two full practices prior to the game, so the Broncos need to just push all-in on this one and expect that they've not cracked the code on how to defeat this new run-option offense. I would, however, expect to see more screen passes and delayed check-down passes. The Broncos will look to find a way to get the ball to guys in space in order to create bigger gains.
Come Thursday, the offensive plan should simply be to keep on keepin' on. More of the same running with some added short passes. Stay away from the corners at all cost and just trust the defense to keep it close. If we have to start throwing deeper, or to their cornerbacks... it means all else has failed and we're on to Plan B.