Beat the Chiefs
I don't think the importance of this Chiefs game can be overstated. An automatic trip to the second round of the playoffs is nice. But home field advantage is better. I never realized what a good home field advantage it is in the stadium that is a mile high. The outside conditions, the loud crowd, and the thin air may be the best home field advantage in the NFL. Our nemesis in NE completely owned the regular season game, running for 250 yards at a frenetic pace. It seems unlikely that they could run a hurry up offense so effectively in Denver. Couple that with the fact that Denver likes to run the hurry up as well, and you have a very good reason for wanting any playoff game to be played in Denver.
I am not overlooking this Chiefs team. I think this could and should be a blowout by the home team. Yet I know KC gave them all they can handle in the first game. While it is true that the motivation factor for a 2-13 team is not there. And the situation is a mess surrounding this team. They do have 5 players on the Pro Bowl roster, whether you agree or not on that assessment. And they know the Broncos well, even the newest Bronco, Peyton.
The Holiday Needs to be Over
Trindon Holiday is a very intriguing player to me. I love watching him when he fields a punt and bursts into a gap. He can break one open on any given kick return. Yet, I think come playoff time, I don't really want to see him on the field. I can see the value of having a guy who can get you automatic points or really good field position. But games are often decided by the mistakes made. I feel like ball security is the biggest thing in the playoffs for this team. The defense is solid and the offense will have several scoring drives a game. I see nothing wrong with having a sure handed returner just get the ball to Peyton and the offense. Sure, it would be a great boost for the team for Trindon to run one back. Or even to give them great field position. But the risk/reward come playoff time is not the same as in the regular season. A long sustained drive by the offense is also valuable as it tires the defense and allows the Broncos D to rest.
End of Season Awards
Interesting to me is the end of season awards that are now being talked about. A lot of guys in the conversations are Denver Broncos. Peyton is a candidate for MVP as well as comeback player of the year. Von Miller is one of three guys in consideration for Defensive Player of the year.
Peyton should get the comeback award because he was gone for the whole season. What Adrian Peterson did was more impressive to me. A lot of people thought Peyton was done. But nobody really knew what it was that he was going thru. They had never seen a QB go thru those procedures and play again. We have seen guys suffer the injury AP had and it takes a long time to, not only get back on the field, but to get back to pre-injury form. Its very impressive. But he was only gone for four games last year. I guess it comes down to the meaning of the name of the award.
MVP award cannot go to AP either. Again, his value to the Vikings is more impressive to me than any other player. He has run them potentially to the playoffs with his reconstructed knee. But an RB cannot be the most valuable player in todays game. To illustrate: Who do I think has a better chance of winning the super bowl, the Vikings or the Packers? I would put my money on the Packers. Are the Packers a far more complete team than the Vikings? I don't think so. But the division winning Packers have Aaron Rodgers. He is more valuable to the Packers than Peterson is to the Vikings. I don't know who gets the MVP award, but it has to be a QB, plain and simple. Then, which QB gets it? Peyton has had a great year statistically. His value to this team cannot be understated. But Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have been pretty valuable to their respective teams as well. I have to give my vote to Matt Ryan. They put more on his shoulders this year and he played outstanding with the weapons at his disposal.
I can understand the Defensive Player of the Year going to J.J. Watt. Its hard to argue. He gets pressure on the QB as an inside lineman. His ability to jump in the air with his long arms and swat passes is unmatched. But at the same time, we all know that Von Miller is just as deserving. He impacts the game in so many ways. If you asked me who I would rather have on my team I would have a tough time passing up Watt, but I think having Miller as an LB who is all over the football field is more useful than someone who is always on the interior of the line.
How can Elway not get the Exec award? He could get it based solely on pulling in Peyton Manning. But as we know, the decisions that he has made have been pretty on point this year. To bring in some of the coaches and players that have been integral to the success of the team to this point in the year, has been fun to observe. Just bringing in veterans like Mike Adams, Keith Brooking, Justin Bannan, Brandon Stokely, Dan Koppen has helped make this a complete team. Even decisions to keep Tony Carter over Drayton Florence have proved pretty wise. He has some good coaches giving him appropriate feedback, and he is making good use of them.
I must admit, as a fan of Peyton Manning's career, I obviously watched his selection process prior to the season with much anticipation. I wanted to see him in a better situation than what he was in with the Colts. To see this great decision maker on the field make an off the field decision was interesting. He was a master at surveying the defense and making good reads and decisions in the pocket. How was he going to do on this decision? Well as I sat during the halftime of the first meeting with the San Diego Chargers in disbelief, I was upset. The situations in Arizona, Miami, San Fransisco, Seattle, all looked better to me at that point. The 2-3 Broncos, fresh off of a thrashing by NE, again had made numerous head-scratching mistakes. They were about to go 2-4 and be 2 games out of the division. I was pretty upset to say the least. It was the defining moment of the season. Scoring 35 unanswered points in the second half, they haven't looked back since.
I feel like this team is so much more complete than recent Colts teams with Peyton. I looked at one stat. I looked back to the 2009 Colts team that went 14-0. I wanted to see the rushing yards for offense/defense and how it compared to this years Broncos. Notice a difference
2009 Colts/2012 Broncos (Broncos and Colts on the Left; Opponents on the left)
71 114/ 94 75
60 239/ 118 67
126 24/ 59 152
78 49/ 165 56
58 90/ 70 251
156 155/ 56 90
61 113/ 225 51
72 81/ 68 91
91 113/ 65 52
76 98/ 133 51
114 122/ 95 148
88 142/ 91 71
92 95/ 140 61
61 139/ 163 56
3 times the 09 Colts went over the 100 yard mark on offense, and 8 times they allowed 100 plus in 14 games. The 12 Broncos ran for 100+ 6 times and for 3 games allowed 100+ in 14 games, Thought it was an interesting difference. Sorry I can't help but compare recent Colts teams to this Bronco team.
Now with a top 5 defense, solid special teams play, physically gifted receivers, and a stout Left Tackle, Peyton has had advantages here that are unique to his playing career. With the playoffs around the corner, with these things carrying over against the elite teams of the league, they can have a great shot at winning it.. It seems to me now that Peyton made the right read and the right off the field decision.