Losing Chris Harris Jr. was a major blow to the already injury riddled Denver Broncos defense, but his injury isn't as harmful as one might think. Not with future Hall of Famer, Champ Bailey as your ace in the hole.
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Broncos vs. Patriots: Game Time and TV Schedule
The Denver Broncos (14-3) will face the New England Patriots (13-4) for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl! Kickoff at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is set for Sunday, January 19th, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
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Bailey has been hammered by the fan base this season over his lack of production, but anyone who does that isn't even attempting to add context to his "down" year. Coming off one of his better seasons as a pro in 2012, Champ suffered an injury to his foot early in the season and after two failed attempts to come back early has been slowly easing himself back into the lineup.
For me, the timing could not be more perfect given the situation on this defense with other injuries. Last week, Champ Bailey was on the field for over half of the defensive snaps against the San Diego Chargers, but that limited role changes beginning tomorrow.
"[The pitch count] doesn't exist this week," Bailey told MHR-favorite, Lindsay Jones earlier this week. "Whatever it takes."
Considering the New England Patriots will be the last offense the Broncos face this year with a dangerous passing attack, losing Chris Harris Jr. also doesn't hurt as much against run-first teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Tomorrow is easily the biggest test for Champ Bailey's full return to the lineup.
We reported earlier today that it was time for redemption for Tony Carter, but it will likely be as Champ Bailey's replacement rather than Chris Harris'. I think the point is to assure Broncos Country that the Broncos defense will be fine this week, even if they do give up some points. Like much of the 2013 season, it will be up to the offense to keep up the scoring onslaught against opponents.