For this special Christmas edition of the Ultimate Fan Guide and last one for the regular season, we have an excellent preview from j-man, who not only has some salient advice for Jack Del Rio and the defense in the upcoming matchup with the Raiders, but also has an outstanding mix of past and present Broncos for his Hall of Fame team.
And even though we'd like to forget much of what happened in that Cincy game, we do need to let our fans from last week vent a little more.
But before I let you read on for such gems, let me just say another HUGE THANKS to all of my "ultimate fans!" This was my favorite thing to put together every week because I got to know a lot about our readers at MHR and also got a really cool extra insight into the game and the team every week. I hope you all got as much out of it (or at least had some fun!).
Thanks for reading. Happy Holidays and GO BRONCOS!
A bungle with the Bengals
A couple of thoughts on that game via Calikula:
- I'm very disappointed that our special teams coach remains employed. From the Super Bowl pooched kick to letting the Bungles run up 250 yards on Special Teams, the SD run back, the New England game ... how many times are we going to let him continue to burn us?
- Bill Vinovich may or may not have cost the game with that phantom flag on Demaryius Thomas,, but boy was that a momentum killer. I'm nearly certain we see another phantom flag had we'd been able to overcome that atrocious call. The man is absolutely crooked and is worthy of investigation.
- Overall I'm not worried about the team. Todd Davis makes that tackle and Barth's kick goes 2 feet to the right, and we take that game hands down. I hope the Bungles get the No. 3 seed and we get a rematch at Mile High. I bet we blow 'em out, provided we don't see that weasel Vinovich.
DENVER v. OAKLAND
MHR - Three takeaways from the road game (er, debacle?) against the Cincinnati Bengals:
- Right now we are in danger in losing in the divisional round to Pittsburgh or Cincinnati because the coachesare slow to adjust to what they see in the game.
- We are in a rock and hard place because if we go no-huddle, we give the other team more snapsand wear out our defense. But if we play slow when down 14+ points, the game is 95 percent over for us.
- No Super Bowl this year unless we can force turnovers and have zero ourselves (or one early at max!)
MHR - What does this team need to focus on most in its last game of the season?
j-man: Health. Yes we need to win, but guys like Julius Thomas and others are not back to full health and we need them for the playoffs.
MHR - The Broncos offensive line looked pretty awful on Monday night...was it just a bad game or should we be concerned?
j-man: Both. We would get a break if we play Pittsburgh who has no pass rush and maybe even New England, who will be more worried about coverage because they are weak pass blockers. The Broncos need the pistol - I run it 70 percent in Madden.
MHR - We know the Raiders and we know they're no pushover. What three things do we have to do to win this last one at home?
- Score early
- Throw on Raiders; they can stop the run.
- Create mismatches - Emmanuel Sanders on a linebacker; both Thomases outside; even DT in the backfield.
MHR - What kind of game plan do you want to see from Adam Gase?
j-man: He has tried everything. I'd say more play-action on first and second downs, and more passes to Wes Welker, especially on 3rd and under 5.
MHR - What game plan would you like out of Jack Del Rio?
j-man: BLITZ! Don't let up! STOP THE TIGHT ENDS!!!!!! (*editor's note: I added a few exclamation marks because I agree!)
MHR - Manning had four INTs on Monday night but in the third quarter he looked almost like the Manning of 2013. How do you feel about him heading into the playoffs?
j-man: I don't know. We need to treat him like Elway 1997-98 and bring it on defense. Manning is starting to become too predictable - if you take his timing away and if the refs allow the other team to mug our wide receivers, we are in for along game. Remember when Manning won his Super Bowl? He had two bad games at Kansas City and Baltimore and one great one in New England ... plus one OK game against Chicago in the big game.
MHR - Is this team still a Super Bowl capable team? Why?
j-man: Yes, but I think it is too much to ask this team to win at New England and beat Seattle in the Super Bowl. I give us 30 percent chance to beat the Patriots. And honestly, we need Seattle to lose at home to Carolina if they beat Atlanta or Dallas.
MHR - What one present would you like Santa to bring the Broncos (besides the obvious - Lombardi) so that the team can win the Super Bowl?
j-man: Health and better Safety play. (*editor's note: OK, that was two, but I'll talk to Santa. I've heard he's a diehard Broncos fan...at least my Christmas gifts would indicate as much!)
- Full stat line for Peyton Manning? 22/29, 262 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
- Number of yards total by the Broncos running backs? 70 yards and 1 TD for C.J.
- Which wide receiver will have the most yards? Emmanuel Sanders, 114 yards and 1 TD
- Number of sacks on Derek Carr? 1
- Number of sacks on Manning? 0
- Broncos' player with the most tackles? Todd Davis, 11
- Broncos' player with the most INTs? Chris Harris Jr. (1)
- Final Score? Broncos 31, Raiders 20
Favorite team to watch the Broncos play? Pittsburgh Steelers. My dad and one of my uncles are huge Steelers fans.
Team you most hate for the Broncos to lose to? New England Patriots - is there another team to hate more?
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? I have three - Demaryius Thomas, Chris Harris Jr. and Emmanuel Sanders.
Favorite Broncos player of all time? I have four - Rod Smith, Bill Romanowski, Mike Anderson, Shannon Sharpe.
Favorite thing to eat during a game? Pizza.
Favorite Game-Day ritual? Play music and think about the game in my mind.
What is your favorite Game-Day attire? Normal clothes, but I have seven jerseys: Terrell Davis (home and away), Brian Griese, and my own last name with No. 84. Quick story - when I met Shanny in 2001, I was wearing my No. 84 jersey...the next year Sharpe came back to the Broncos...hmmm. LOL.
Most embarrassing-to-admit superstitious behavior regarding Broncos on Game Day? I overreact to every bad play and rub my fingers with my thumb and make a fist!
Best Broncos come-from-behind win? 2011...from Week 6 on! LOL.
Favorite Christmas celebration? My family does not have many things they do for Christmas, but my dad (other than being a Pittsburgh fan) is a great gift-giver and he always knows what to get. Quick story - in 1997 or 1998, he had me stay in my room until he told me to come in. When I did, Green Bay at Denver was playing on PS1. I was shocked and so happy...and that was just one of many times that happened.
Who makes your "Hall of Fame" Broncos team?
QB: John Elway, Peyton Manning
RB: Floyd Little, Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson
WR: Rod Smith, Rick Upchurch, Ed McCaffrey and Mark Jackson (and if DT re-signs, bump Jackson off!)
TE: Shannon Sharpe
O-LINE: Gary Zimmerman, Mark Schlereth,Tom Nalen, Dan Neal, Tony Jones
DEFENSE: Neil Smith, Trevor Pryce, Greg Kragen, Lyle Alzado Von Miller, Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Karl Mecklenbrug, Al Wilson, Champ Bailey, Chris Harris Jr., Darrent Williams, Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith, John Lynch
K: Jason Elam
P: Mike Horan