Each year an "unknown" player from a playoff steps up his game and leads his team to victory. I'll give you five Denver Broncos players who can be that player for this weekend's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
1. Virgil Green:
Everyone is going to be talking about Julius Thomas. Thomas had three touchdowns against the Colts in the season opener, and was leading the league in touchdown receptions before suffering an ankle injury during the Broncos loss against the St. Louis Rams. Ever since that loss, the Broncos' offense has changed, and Thomas has been out/limited with the ankle injury.
Ever since the St. Louis game the Broncos have become a more balanced team and focused on run. Backup tight end Virgil Green has been seeing more playing time because of this. Green who excels in run blocking has been one of the main reasons why the Broncos run game has had its success since then.
Now fast forward to Sunday. The Broncos will more than likely focus on running the ball against the Colts defense, so Green will be important to the success of the Broncos offense, specifically the run game.
Now Green is more than a blocker, he can be used in the passing game. During the season finale against the Oakland Raiders, Green caught three passes for 46 yards. He also caught his first career touchdown pass. Green is pretty athletic, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Broncos use him more in the offense, especially if Thomas isn't completely 100%.
2. Ronnie Hillman/Juwan Thompson:
We all know that C.J. Anderson is the main guy, but his backups can play an important role on Sunday.
Hillman and Thompson both had success when they were called on during the regular season, so I expect one or both of them to have some success on Sunday.
Now Hillman and Thompson are two completely backs, so I see them being used differently. Hillman is your speedy/explosive back so I could see the Broncos trying to get him in space. I could see the Broncos using Hillman in stretch/toss plays and using him in the pass/screen game. As for Thompson he's more of your between the tackles guy. When Anderson needs a rest I could see the Broncos using Thompson the same way they use Anderson, especially in the red zone/short yardage situations.
Your Broncos vs. Colts preview
•Mile High ReportThe Denver Broncos (12-4) will take on the Indianapolis Colts (12-5) in the Divisional round of the 2014-2015 playoffs on Sunday, January 11, 2015 in a game full of storylines much richer than simply "Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck."
3. Omar Bolden:
Andre Caldwell started the season as the Broncos kick returner, and struggled. Cornerback Omar Bolden recently replaced Caldwell as the returner for the Broncos and had has success.
Ever since then Bolden has returned 13 kicks for 429 yards. That's an average of 33 yards per kick return. Now this game will be played in Denver so there's a chance that Bolden will not get a chance to return any kicks, but if he does he has a chance to put the Broncos in good field position.
We all saw Trindon Holliday go off against the Ravens two years ago. Maybe Bolden can have similar success.
4. Connor Barth:
The Broncos started the season with some changeover at the kicker position. Matt Prater was suspended, and eventually released and his replacement Brandon McManus struggled mightily. Well the Broncos decided to make a change at the kicking position and signed veteran kicker Connor Barth off the street. Since then Barth has made 15 of 16(93.8%) of his field goals.
The Broncos are going to need Barth to continue his accuracy in playoffs. Special teams blunders like missed field goals often cost teams in the playoffs. The pressure will be on Barth because Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has made 30 of 31(96.8%) field goal attempts this season.
5. Bradley Roby:
The Broncos' first round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft came up big in the season opener game against the Colts, and will need to come up big again this Sunday.
With Chris Harris and Aqib Talib shutting down the outside I expect Luck to target the rookie corner on Sunday. Roby is likely to see veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, explosive receiver T.Y.Hilton and rookie receiver Donte Moncrief on Sunday.
The Broncos will need Roby to avoid the rookie wall and have a big game on Sunday. If not, the Colts passing offense could have some success on Sunday.
One more Day:
- The Cardinals and veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are talking about a possible restructuring of his contract. If Fitzy declines to take a pay cut the Cardinals may decide to part ways with the veteran.
- Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy says that running back Eddie Lacy is "fresh" for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
- The Chicago Bears new General Manager is expected toevaluate Quarterback Jay Cutler's future with the team.
- Buffalo Bills pass rusher Jerry Hughes says that he will not give the team a "hometown discount" this offseason.
- Hall Of Fame receiver Chris Carter's son is drawing interest from NFL teams.
- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has been fined $8,268 for taunting the Lions during Wild Card victory last weekend.
- Running back Ricky Williams and Linebacker Zach Thomas are both heading to the College Football Hall Of Fame.