It was an exciting game away last week as the Denver Broncos stole the show in Arrowhead, but it's no time for the team to let up against the Buffalo Bills this week at home as the Broncos need to keep their lead in the AFC West secure and keep hope alive for home field advantage in the playoffs (come on, Chargers, the one time we're going to pull for you - begrudgingly, of course - don't let us down!)
But before we preview this week's game, let's let T.Kothe bask in some of his glory for not just predicting a win, but having exactly the right formula for doing it - a run game followed by a defense. Looks like that college degree is going to get you places, kid!
T.Kothe: Here's to a hard-fought, impressive victory! As with any game there were some ups and downs, so for a quick recap I'll break out a couple Props and Drops each.
- C.J. Anderson on another stellar rushing day! That plate of crow I dished up in the previous Ultimate Fan Guide tasted pretty darn good Sunday night.
- The defense for playing lights-out all night and literally giving Alex Smith a headache. At least, I know I'd have one if I got hit that many times.
- Finally, to David Bruton for a gutsy-as-heck special teams audible that produced one of the highlight plays of the season.
- Our red zone offense. Man, we sure missed Orange Julius out there. Get healthy and go get 'em, dude.
- Unfortunately, to Peyton Manning. It's rare that he has a pedestrian day that'd actually be pretty pedestrian for other QBs too. But something tells me the Sheriff will get his gun dialed back in before long.
- Finally, to our kicking game. I know a lot of folks here won't agree, but five relatively short-yardage field goals don't impress me much when the other team is starting their average drive on the 33 rather than the 20. Getting that additional three points more often will definitely help, but will it help more than giving up an extra TD per game will hurt?
And now let's get down to business and see what @metalman5050 thinks is going to happen at Mile High this weekend (aside from the usual magic!)
MHR - What were your takeaways from the game in Kansas City?
- The new Broncos kicker Connor Barth outscored the Chiefs. Nice job, Mr. Barth!
- Hey, let's start out running C.J. down their throat, OK? Check! Did you notice... C.J. Anderson's vision is incredible? Check. Let's throw C.J. a touchdown pass, shall we? Check! Anderson is no joke, folks. The running back had 11 carries for 58 yards (5.27 avg) and by the end of the game, 32 carries for 168 yards (5.25 avg). The man does NOT wear down. Add his 17 yards and a TD in the air, and there is no one on the roster that I want to see starting before we see irrefutable proof that they will out produce him. The young man did not lie to us during the 2013 Training Camp, and he finally got his chance to prove the point. Now, come on Peyton/Gase - 3rd & 3 and we're passing the ball?!?
- When is Peyton going to be perfect? LoL ... 6 - 8 absolutely terrible throws, like you would expect a rookie to throw. I expect everyone to give Brock 'The Wizard of Oz' a break HISfirst half a year...and then expect magic from the Wizard.
- Demaryius Thomas will make any QB look good! That's just how goodheis. You Betta Pay Da Man, John. He's a keeper.Thomas' first TD catch showed why DT is unstoppable. The defender did all he could do just to keep up, and absolutely no time to see if the ball was coming. Thomas had his eye on that ball for 20 yards.
MHR - The Broncos finally showed some balance in the offense against Miami and again against Kansas City, where they ran 45 times compared to 34 pass attempts. How do you think the running game will continue to come into play against Buffalo?
Metalman5050: Buffalo's defense has been allowing just about exactly what Denver has been getting. I expect more of the same treatment from our offense (*see comments above about Anderson)
* SPECIAL NOTE - Orton's stats Sunday: 17/31, 190yds; Peyton stats Sunday: 17/34 179yds.
Peyton couldn't keep up with Orton this week because Orton threw two INTs, and Peyton has apparently gotten that out of his system.
MHR - If you were Jack Del Rio, what kind of a defensive game plan would you put together for the match up against Kyle Orton and a rather poor Bills offensive line?
Metalman5050: Note to JDR: "Please repeat the KC game."
Blitz Orton into the turf while stuffing his receivers at the line is my plan. Orton loves that occasional long ball (once or twice every possession), so without time to throw, he will get frustrated and begin to drool uncontrollably into his beard.
The Bills are on a roll with two straight wins, and Orton seems re-energized and playing with a new life. The Bills put up 38 points two weeks ago but won Sunday despite having Orton under center.
MHR - The Broncos O-Line has been great the last two games, but now they will face another really tough defense. In fact, three of the top 10 pass rushers in the NFL are on the Bills (two are on the Broncos!) How does our O-line do this week, in your view?
Metalman5050: With the Mario Williams (that video game character has 11.5 sacks!), Jerry Hughes, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams combo, some think this is the best defensive line in the league. When you realize that Buffalo leads the league in sacks (about 20 more than Denver), then you know that Denver's revamped O-line will be looking to make a statement.
This is another classic example of the best against the best, most sacks grabbed (Buffalo) against fewest allowed (Denver). The Bills O-line has allowed one fewer sack than the Broncos had gotten prior to the Sunday night game with KC.
MHR - The Bills acquired Marcus Thigpen this week. Since the Bills already have a good wide receiver in Robert Woods, what kind of an impact do you think he could have on the Bills offense next week?
Metalman5050: Not much. Thigpen showed up in four games for Tampa Bay this year, just long enough to record two fumbles, losing one of them. That's all he gave the Bucs before leaving town. I'm not sure what his problem is.
This week against Cleveland he averaged 11 yards on 4 punt returns (without fumbling), and that's about the only way I see them using him against Denver. I'm thinking he still sees the Bills playbook as some foreign language at this point.
Robert Woods, however, has some sticky gloves, so we should watch out for him.
MHR - How big of a difference does it make for the Broncos to play at home? Since this is the second-to-last home game at Mile High, what kind of atmosphere do you expect?
Metalman5050: I'd love to be there. It will rock as usual, but as soon as the natives smell the first little bit of blood, look out. Once the Broncos are "Eat'n Greedy," the fans become ravenous! We should "pity da poe foos" wearing red, white and blue!
MHR - What do you anticipate to be the Broncos' biggest challenges this weekend against the Bills?
Metalman5050: Getting out of bed and showing up for the game may be it.
But seriously, last Sunday the Bills won their seventh game of the year. We have to go all the way back to 2002, when they won eight games, to find a year where they had a better win-loss record.
The team has been consistently mediocre since their last playoff year in 1999, averaging just over 6.2 wins per season during that 15-year stretch. However, second-year head coach Doug Marrone seems to have the team heading in the right direction.
Marrone is a New York state native and when the Bills hired him last year, he struck me as a great natural pick for the job. He spent seven years with New Orleans and the Jets before turning the Syracuse college football program around as its head coach for four years.
I don't think the Bills are a pushover team that we can ignore, for one simple reason - Neckbeard!
We all know that Orton's 1 TD, 2 INT, 17/31 performance last week was a fluke, and that he's coming into Denver to pull off an upset. I heard somewhere that he doesn't love Denver fans. I heard somewhere else that he expects to throw five TDs against our secondary, along with shocking Broncos Country by scrambling for two more.
Don't blame me for dismissing those rumors the moment I heard them!
MHR - What kind of a statement would you be looking for in this game against a team that should be a win for us?
Metalman5050: I fully expect the Broncos to win, but I want them to make many statements:
- The Coaching staff, in it's entirety, must present us with the most fascinating display of uniqueness in their game planing, and in their in-game adjustments, that we have not seen over the past three years!
- The players must come out from start to finish with a ferocious intensity greater than we've EVER seenon any football field!
- I want to see a great mixture of pass vs. runs on first down, with the plays being as unexpected to me as they are to the Bill's. I want to see plays on offense I've never seen called since Peyton arrived.
- I want to see, straight out of the gate, blitz packages that flatten Orton so frequently,he announces his retirement for goodduring the first quarter. Along with that, will be a high level frequency of smash mouth bump and run man coverage by our D that totally disrupts the attempted routs being run.
In short, the statement I want made is one from this coaching staff to John Elway and the fans:
Show us all that the responsibility for the team's failures has been properly addressed by the staff, and that going forward we will be seeing excellence from this team that perfectly reflects overachievement from the talent we have!
Can you imagine what an amazing team this would be if we had a coaching staff with a desire to get MORE than is expected from the talent we have?
[note: I wrote this during the Bills game, and sure enough, the Broncos ended up doing a lot of it against the Chiefs.]
MHR - How concerned are you about Peyton Manning's accuracy/performance this season? Early on he was awesome but lately he's had several "bad games" (for Peyton, that is). Do you think it is a weather thing? and off-day thing? an age thing that just showed up mid-season? And is it anything to be talking about?
Metalman5050: I personally feel that Peyton's career is winding down, and that the Broncos need to "go in another direction" following this season. I am beyond ready to see what the next man up has to offer. Peyton has his up side, but in my opinion he is also is a liability in other areas, such as mobility (non existent) and arm strength, the two things that made John Elway famous.
Brock O. has both of those natural attributes, and I personally can't wait for his time in town to begin. When you have the measurables that he has, coupled with the time he has had to learn the system, then all that's left is the education that can only come as the starting QB for a team. I believe his time learning from watching P. Manning will be a great benefit, and it will help him to avoid the trap that a lot of mobile QBs fall into. I believe he will develop patience in the pocket while always having his mobility to utilize as needed.
Brock and I are ready for that awkward time in every "rookie" QB's life where he struggles a bit while perfecting his IN-GAME prowess. I believe that it won't take but half a year for Brock to be up to speed, and then look out. I see him bringing back the excitement we've been missing due to his ability to extend plays, when needed, and actually create the types of nightmares that a mobile QB naturally creates.
MHR - Should fans be worried about Connor Barth's kickoff ability, or should we just be happy we have a kicker who can get it through the uprights?
Metalman5050: I'm not worried about it at all this year. It is something I am certain will be addressed during the off season. But given the choice between points on the board and a slightly better opponent's field position, I'm going to trust our defense to get it done!
(*editor's note: the predictions are all mine, save the final score - notice how close we are.)
Full stat line for Peyton Manning? 25/35, 289 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Number of yards total by the Broncos running backs? 143 for C.J., 165 total
Which wide receiver will have the most yards? Emmanuel Sanders...Peyton, quit overthrowing him so this guy can get his TDs!
Number of sacks on Kyle Orton? A Lucky 7
Number of sacks on Manning? 1
Broncos player with the most tackles? Brandon Marshall with 8
Broncos player with the most INTs? Although I'd love another Knighton-Ware alleyoop, I'm going with Chris Harris, Jr. (1)
Number of penalties/yards on the Broncos? 3 on offense, 3 on defense
Final Score? Broncos 31, Bills 14 (Laurie); Broncos 30, Bills 12 (metalman5050)
Favorite team to watch the Broncos play?
Lately, it's the Raiders. I love to watch the inept cellar feeders look bad.
The struggles they go through anually continues to show that the blood line has been perfectly duplicated from the father to the son, and that we can expect a loser to show up twice a year, every year from now on.
Team you most hate for the Broncos to lose to?
New England. I've grown to absolutely detest Bill Beli-dancing-chick and his Un-Patriotic way of cheating over the past decade.
I love the Broncos and believe that John Elway will be even greater as an executive than he was as a player, so reading this next sentence will give you an idea how bad I dislike the Pats.
I'd stop rooting for the Broncos if they hired him, and I'd kick Elway under the bus if he were the one to do it. That's how much I detest that coach and team.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster?
That's a problem for me. Champ Bailey was that guy. Now I have to wait and see how things develop over the next couple of years, since I like to pick favorites who I believe will be around for several years.
Brock could easily become that guy for me if in fact he does end up being the next franchise QB, but right now I like a bunch of the young guys - Harris Jr., Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball are all guys I like to follow.
Favorite Broncos player of all time?
You can check my avatar for that answer.
Favorite thing to eat during a game?
I don't eat during games. Perhaps that's a ritual by omission, but I find I'm too busy to be distracted by food. The difference is during a Super Bowl Party when the Broncos aren't in it. Then I get into the buffet along with the crowd.
Favorite Game-Day ritual?
I'm not sure I have any rituals, unless listening to the game on 850 KOA three plays behind the actual televised play counts. I also have NFL.com on screen so I can analyze the play-by-play stats as the game unfolds and keep tabs on the other games in progress.
I occasionally have the MHR game thread on in order to poke fun at the alarmists who constantly soil their clothing over nothing.
What is your favorite Game-Day attire?
I'm a non-conformist here as well. Nothing to tell. No ritual. It's different every week.
Most embarrassing-to-admit superstitious behavior regarding Broncos on Game Day?
Whether my watching the game makes a difference in the outcome. I had missed watching a string of games this year, and we had won every game, only to watch the next one and we lost. Ya, I know. I'm not going to stop watching because of that!
Best Broncos come-from-behind win?
It's always the last one for me. The guys coming back in the win against Miami was a thrill to watch.
If there are quitters on this team, I haven't seen them this year. Anderson has quickly shown me that his "big talk" over the past two training camps is something that he can back up with his play on the field.
Come-from-behind wins have always been my favorite games, as the drama and intensity keeps me on the edge of my seat. I've always been in that group of peeps who crave a good, cheap thrill.
Who makes your "Hall of Fame" Broncos team?
Every single one of the players on the two Super Bowl winning teams!