This article won't be pretty, and it might be a bit confusing. But hey, that's what going down the rabbit hole is all about, right? Just stick with me, and let me be your guide down these ramblings I'm about to lay on you.
I want to see the Broncos host the Colts in the playoffs for these simple reasons: First, I want revenge on the Colts. Peyton wants revenge on the Colts, and I'm willing to bet that everyone on the Broncos squad wants revenge on the Colts. Sure, the Chargers beat us, but the Colts were the first team to beat us this year. Second, they played mind games with Peyton in Indy, and it was noticeably affecting him that Sunday. Third, S***f (stuff) would be different playing the game in Denver, and let me tell you why! There would be no pre-kickoff city/team/fan appreciation ceremony for Manning. There would be no fans chanting his name and showing their love for him only to cheer louder against him once the game kicked off. Peyton was visibly shaken from the love fest that Indy gave him. He looked embarrassed to be inside his former home stadium, to be playing on the visitor's side of the field, to be running out of the visitor's tunnel, and to be donning the visiting uniform. When he completed passes, it almost looked like he was saying "I'm sorry for doing this to you my dear fans", and when he was standing on the sidelines, it appeared as though he was completely checked out of the game and just wishing it was over with already.
That isn't the demeanor that you want out of your starting QB, and I wholeheartedly believe that isn't the demeanor that we'll see from Peyton once the Colts make their way to Denver on January 12th (exactly 1 year since the Ravens stunned the Broncos). The Broncos faithful will be in full force at Mile High Stadium! We'll all be screaming, stomping, and jumping our brains out. We'll be cheering for Manning to succeed, not to fail. We will make the refs stop play and tell the fans to be quiet because the QB can't get his signal calls in (something we haven't seen in a while). The Broncos offense will feed off our energy (even though we'll be quiet while Manning is trying to #hurryhurry).
The point is that I want the Colts. I want to have Manning exact revenge on his old team. We need him to get over that hurdle and firmly embrace Denver as his home, because after what I saw in Indy, he still considers Indy his home. It's time to exorcise his demons and wash away all remnants of the Colts from his being. This will naturally wash away playoff failures and give him a fresh start with the best franchise in all of football: the Denver Broncos!
I think the Broncos defense is better without Von Miller this year. I know, I know, I'm an idiot for thinking this, but let me explain why I think this. Yes, losing Miller is huge. Yes, I think Miller is a freak of nature and the best defensive player on our team. Yes, I think Miller is the top 1, 2, or 3 defensive players in the entire league. But yes, I think our defense will play better without him in this, the 2013 NFL Playoffs. As Bronco Mike often says, "buckle up, Pete's about to take us down the Rabbit Hole!"
For how great Miller is, he had an off year this year. Forget about his suspension, and forget about his ACL tear. When we saw him on the field, he looked slow and ineffective. Did he have a good first half against the Patriots? Yes, but last I checked, it takes more than half a game to judge a player. There's no doubt that if Von Miller in 2013 was the same Von Miller that we saw in 2012, I wouldn't be claiming our defense would be better off without him. Sadly enough though, the 2013 Von Miller appeared to be somewhat of a shell of his former self.
I think our defense leans too much on Miller being the irresistible force that he is. What I mean by that came from training camp where I believe Wolfe (someone can feel free to correct me) said, and I'm paraphrasing, "we rely too much on Von to get pressure. We all pretty much do our jobs and when someone asks how we'll get pressure on the QB, we all say 'don't worry, Von will get him'." I know, rough paraphrase, but you get the gist. My point being that our defense relies too much on one person to wreck havoc on the opposing offense. With Von out, our whole defense knows that they all need to step up their game big time. They can't rest on their laurels, and they can't allow themselves to play sloppy because they expect Von to pick up their slack.
With Von out, I expect our entire defense to collectively pick up the slack and really focus on being the best players they can be. If Shaun Phillips is tasked with pressuring the QB, I think he'll be thinking "man, I got to get there cause there is nobody else who can." The same goes for Ayers, Unrein, Jackson, Pot Roast, and Sly Williams. It's a psychological thing where they know that there is no Plan B (hat tip to John Elway) on any given play.
Remember early in the season when Phillips and Ayers were tearing it up with their sack and pressure numbers? Yeah, that was without Von Miller. Did you also notice that once Von came back, their numbers took a nose dive? How could this be? By the very presence of Von in the lineup, their numbers should have shot up even more because defenses would be forced to gameplan against Miller. But the inverse happened. Why? I'll tell you my theory - it's because they knew that they "don't have to worry, Von will get him."
You know what the only problem with that was? It's that Von didn't get him. He just didn't. Somehow, he put on weight but dropped body fat. If that's the case, then why did he look slower and out of shape? Why did he look to have a bigger gut than last year? Who knows. All I know is that Von didn't hit the ground running, and even though he is all-world, he just didn't make the impact that we all hoped and expected him to make. I think him being out will get our defense focused and hungry to prove that they can get it done without him. They all love him, but personal pride overrides pretty much everything in our lives, and pride will be on the line. Much like we all know there was a personal pride issue with Tebow getting all the credit for wins, we should be equally confident that pride will be an issue with all the talk about, "Can the Broncos defense get it done without Von Miller?" And the answer, in my opinion, will be a resounding Y-E-S-!
Do you know what really chaps my ass? All the Seattle Seahawks love out there by the main stream media. I get it, you want a new Cinderella story, and who can blame you, Cinderella sells. But let's be honest for a minute: the Seahawks are not as good as they appear. Usually I say that feelings like this stem from jealousy, but really, what is there to be jealous of? I'd much rather have our entire Broncos squad than the entire Seahawks squad. Can it be debated? No. Not even a little. I'm taking Manning over Wilson, even though the media will have you believe otherwise. I'm even taking our defense over their defense. Know why? Because those lovable bunch of misfits are OUR lovable bunch of misfits dammit! I think that the Seahawks' defense would be exposed in the exact same way that ours has been if teams knew going into each game that they had to take a large number of risks in order to hang offensively with the 'hawks.
I liken it to the Broncos vs Chiefs. Going into that game I said that what scared me was that the Chiefs knew they'd have to be risky and go for high risk/high reward plays in order to hang with us. I went on to say that I believed that in doing so, they'd have success which would make them a much harder team to beat for everyone in the NFL because they'd get confidence in their offensive fire power. Well, check and check, although I didn't see their defense completely falling apart en route to a 2-5 finish to the season. My point is that against the Broncos, opposing offenses know that they need to take risks in order to keep the game competitive. The same isn't true against the Seahawks.
Knowing that you only need to score 20 points to win is an entirely different mindset and offensive philosophy than knowing you need to score 40 points to win. Knowing that 20 can get it done means that the offense will play more conservatively and take lower risk plays and try to methodically march down the field for field goals and if they're lucky, touchdowns. When you know that you'll be in the game going into the 4th quarter regardless of how little you score, then you'll probably score very little. There is no sense of urgency to score a lot of points. There is no sense of urgency to remember that your team is full of elite athletes who can get it done (you know, cause to make it to the NFL, you are the best of the best and have 'done it' before). So what does that get you? That's right, that gets you beat by Seattle and that makes the announcers drool all over themselves while they heap praise after praise onto the Seahawks. Ugh, it makes me want to vomit.
I know that Power Rankings are all for the fans and that the players either a) shouldn't, or b) don't care about them, but how can every outlet keep not only the Seahawks, but also the 49ers ahead of the Broncos? Are they watching the same games as us? Yes, I know they shut out the Giants, but the Giants weren't exactly high flying this year. Hell, if we didn't pack it in and start playing our reserves, we would have annihilated the Raiders by a score of about 73-0. Would that have gotten us to #1? Doubtful because we are a Midwest cow town of a team. After a day where Peyton Manning breaks touchdown records, do you see respect given? No, all you see is article after article about how either Wilson or Brady should be MVPs because their teams are doing good. After yesterday when Manning broke the yardage record and extended the TD record, what are you reading about today? Is it about Manning being the best of all time? Is it about how anybody but Manning for MVP is laughable? No, it's about how great the Seahawks are and how Manning should be 7 yards shy because his pass to Decker is about as close as the Music City Miracle to being a backwards pass.
Maybe it's because the main stream media is tired of writing glowing article after glowing article about Peyton Manning, but I'm sick of reading about the unstoppable force that is Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. I'm all for giving praise where praise is warranted, and they've warranted some praise here and there, but man, not this much! I can't wait to see them get bounced out of the playoffs at home! Not only that, but I can't wait to see them have to gut their team to get under the salary cap next year! Suck it "12th man!" The Broncos don't need to be hopped up on enormous quantities of caffeine to give our team a real home field advantage.
Do you know what happens when the Broncos play against any defense in the league? That's right, they torch them! You know what happens when Wilson has to play the Broncos (although he won't cause he isn't making the super bowl)? That's right, DRC, Champ, and Chris Harris will pick his weak ass passes off! Maybe I'll download the Russel Wilson app and have him tell me about his hopes and dreams, cause winning a super bowl will remain just that, a hope and a dream!
Do you know what chaps my ass pt2? It's the "Hey Peyton, is this the best offense you've ever played on?" Ugh, really? Are we all THIS STUPID that we have to ask this question? Let's see, he has NFL Records in Touchdowns, Yardage, and Points. Forget the "Is this the best you've ever been on" garbage, this is the best offense that the world has ever seen, Peyton or not! So can we all stop asking him that question? It just makes you sound dumb (speaking to the media masses, not anyone here at MHR).
That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed your journey with me. Feel free to flame me in the comments below.