There are several reasons why tonight's game against the Green Bay Packers is important. I have a few, some more obvious than others, that make tonight's Monday Night affari must-see TV --
1. Playoffs And Division Still Very Much In Play -- The Broncos are sitting at 3-3, right in the think of both the AFC West race and the AFC playoff picture. A win tonight and the Broncos are at worst tied for first place in the division. Lose, and....well you know. The Broncos have been inconsistent to say the least, but it has been more a case of youth than lack of talent. The Broncos are very talented, and the great thing about playing all the kids is they gain experience, and likely will only get better. I believe we saw a bit of that last week when it was the youth on defense that made play after play in knocking off the first-place Steelers. You know what I always say -- "Success begets success, winning begets winning". The Broncos tasted a bit of both last week, and that will only fuel their hunger and their confidence. The Broncos still have the fate of their season in their hands and a win tonight will go a long way towards shaping the rest of their season.
2. The Road Only Gets Tougher From Here -- Not everything is warm and fuzzy however, and if the Broncos are going to do anything in January they have to take care of business at home in October. After playing the entire month of October at home, the Broncos will spend November spanning the country. Four of the next five games are on the road, with the lone home game, a Monday Night match up against the Tennessee Titans sandwiched between roadies against Detroit and Kansas City on the front side, Chicago and Oakland on the back. With two of those games at divisional opponents, tonights' game is crucial. The Broncos need to be above .500 before this stretch, and most importantly be feeling good about themselves before a tough two-game stretch against teams that have similar playoff aspirations.
3. After A Three-Week Sabbatical, The Broncos Are Back In The Cross-Hairs. -- The surprising run by the Rockies took alot of the attention off the Broncos in the City of Denver, an extreme rarity in June, not to mention late October. With the Rox season ended last night, the full attention of the Denver masses will once again be on Invesco Field and the Broncos. The energy that has captured the city the past couple of weeks should undoubtedly have an effect on the Broncos and I am hoping to see a side-effect of that. The fans were into it for 60 minutes last week against the Steelers and I expect it to be more of the same tonight.
4. Who Knew Winning Two-in-a-Row At Home Would Be A Big Deal -- The Broncos have been the most dominant home team of the last 30 years, but lately the word dominant is the last thing that comes to mind. After tonight, the Broncos will already have 5 of their home games played and it is important that the team somehow finds it's home mojo. No one is afraid or intimidated about coming into Denver, and worse yet, teams actually are coming into town expecting to win. That changed somewhat last week when the Broncos stood strong against the Steelers, but back-to-back home wins might prove the Broncos are, indeed, back, at least the dominant at home part. A win tonight and I feel pretty good about the Broncos sweeping through the rest of their home schedule, finishing a respectable 6-2. We all know the math, and a .500 road record should be accessible, especially for a team that has one 10-6 on the road the past two seasons.
5. The Battle Of 'Gun-Slingers -- There is no term I hate more than 'Gun-Slinger' in terms of describing a quarterback. To me, that means the guys has no idea how to read a defense and feels he can win just by throwing it around so many times that something good is eventually going to happen. That term might accurately describe Brett Favre, but Jay Cutler is much, much more than that. Favre and Cutler do have alot in common, however, and the match up between the two is definitely one to watch. Cutler needs to show he can be effective while not making the dumb mistake. I am looking for the youngster, making his 12th career start mind you, to play well and avoid the costly pick, something that has plagued him throughout. Favre, on the other hand, is an old dog, and you know what they say. Favre is what he is, and even though he started the season on a roll, the past couple weeks has seen Favre get back to his old ways a bit. The Packers cannot run the football, and the Broncos won't let them run it tonight. That leaves Favre to do all the heavy lifting and the days of Favre putting a team on his back are over. I like Cutler to play mistake free, while Favre does what he does best, throw a bad pick.
6. Hell, It's Monday night Football, That's reason Enough -- At least there hasn't been a tragedy in the Favre household. Who can forget Favre performance against the Raiders a few years ago after the death of his father? Believe me, I've tried. Favre seems to step up in the big moments, though that always isn't a good thing. Always playing with that chip that has made him so good, Favre can let his emotions get the best of him at times, and in Primetime, when the lights are brightest, Favre emotions are at their summit. Favre was average at best in the Packers only other prime time game this year, a loss to the Bears in Lambeau. If the Denver defense can apply the same type of pressure on Favre that Big Ben had to deal with last week the Broncos will win the football game.
Your turn. Any that I missed, talk about them below....