Last week the Broncos won a thriller against Tony Romo, and the Dallas Cowboys. The Broncos moved to 5-0, and now host the 0-5 Jacksonville Jaguars. Lets take a look at five things to keep an eye on while you watch the game.
1. Don't overlook the Jaguars:
When a undefeated team plays a team that's not very good a week before a big game, there's a chance that they will overlook them. Now I do not expect a Peyton Manning led team to take the Jaguars lightly, and i don't expect Del Rio to relax against the team that fired him. Here' what Head Coach John Fox had to say about this very issue...
"One thing I've learned is if you fall asleep at the wheel, you wreck,'' Fox said. "Sometimes dealing with prosperity is more difficult than the adversity. Our guys understand that. They understand it's more about the process than the results. They understand it's more about the preparation work which will relate to the performance.''
The leaders on this team will not allow the team is overlook the Jags.
2. The Return Of The Champ?:
All signs are pointing to future Hall Of Famer Cornerback Champ Bailey to make his 2013 regular season debut this sunday. The Broncos secondary will welcome him back. The Broncos rank last against the pass with 347.0 yards allowed per game and are 29th in overall defense at 416.6 total yards. Here's what Champ had to say after finishing his first complete practice this season..
"I feel pretty good. I feel like I’m definitely making progress" said Bailey. It’s hard to be 100 percent when you come back from an injury like this but that’s what I’m working toward and I feel pretty good about where I’m going.When I go out there on that field, I expect to play like I always play," Bailey said. "I’m not trying to take anything easy or light. I’m full-tilt if I’m on that field, so I don’t know any other way to play."
If Bailey plays I would expect to see him on a snap count. He will be a little bit rusty, and more then likely will not be needed for an entire game this sunday. This will hopefully be a good tune up for Champ before the Broncos the Colts next weekend.
3. Covering Blackmon and Shorts:
As I said earlier the Broncos have had a hard time stopping the pass, and the Jags have two good young receivers. Justin Blackmon returned from a four game suspension last week, and had a 5 catch for 146 yard game. The highlight of the game was a 67 yard touchdown pass had. He did this with the likes of Blaine Gabbert, and Chad Henne at Quarterback. While Blackmon has been suspended, Shorts has been the Jags offense. Through 5 games Shorts has 31 receptions for 411 yards, and one touchdown. These two could be a tough matchup for a potentially banged up Broncos secondary.
4. Bounce Back Performance For The Defense?:
Last week the Broncos defense was shredded by Tony Romo, and the Cowboys receivers. The Broncos defense allowed a season high 48 points(and still won). This week they're going against an offense that is well, to be blunt...not very good.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert is out for this game, and backup Chad Henne will man the Jaguars offense. As I covered earlier, the Jags have two good young receivers in Blackmon, and Shorts, but can their Quarterback get them ball? The Jaguars are ranked 29th in the league in passing. Running Back Maurice Jones Drew is averaging a miserable 2.8 yards per carry, and the team as a whole is only averaging 58.8 yards a game on the ground. So their obviously not very good. Also they are without their two starting tackles for this game. They traded Eugene Monroe to the Ravens last week, and first round pick Luke Joeckel suffered a season ending injury.
So the Broncos are facing an offense that ranks near the bottom in every offensive category, are without their two week one starting offensive tackles, and their backup QB? There will be no excuses for this defense if it struggles against this team. I expect multiple turnovers, and sacks from the Broncos defense this week.
5. The Broncos Offense vs The Jaguars defense:
Folks, it could get ugly.
The Jaguars have allowed 379.8 yards per game to opposing offenses, Have the 10th ranked pass defense(very misleading stat), and have the 29th ranked rush defense.
Peyton should have a very good game against the Jags defense. Yes they have only allowed an average of 219.2 yards through the air, which ranks 10th best in the league. The stat that stands out to me is the QB rating their allowing to opposing QBs. Opposing Quarterbacks are averaging a 103.9 QB rating against the Jags defense this year. Expect that to go up after Sundays game.
Another stat that doesn't bode well for the Jaguars is how bad their rush defense has been. They have given up a league worse 4.9 yards per carry on the ground, and another league worse 160.6 yards per game on the ground. While Peyton is getting all the attention, Knowshon Moreno and company have been stepping up their game. Moreno Is having a very solid year thus far. Moreno has 331 yards on 61 carries(5.1 per carry average), and four touchdowns. Look for the Broncos rushing attack to have a solid performance this sunday.