One might think the undefeated 5-0 Denver Broncos would be big favorites on the road against the 2-3 Cleveland Browns, but one would be wrong. The Broncos are decent favorites - the spread opened at 3.5 in Denver's favor and has moved to four or five points according to the latest NFL odds - but this isn't the spread Broncos fans might be used to stemming from the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Rightfully so. The Broncos haven't been able to put a single one of their opponents away until late in the fourth quarter, and quarterback Peyton Manning has struggled.
"We have some tremendous things going on defensively and we're battling offensively right now.," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Monday. "It's hard to win in this league."
Denver's road test won't get any easier against a surging Cleveland team. The Browns are coming off a 33-30 win over the Ravens in Baltimore in overtime that saw quarterback Josh McCown continue to emerge and break franchise records. His 457 passing yards set a team record, and he earned another entry in the Browns' record book with his third consecutive 300-yard game, the first Cleveland quarterback to accomplish the feat.
Some Broncos fans are looking two weeks ahead, after the Browns and after the bye, to the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers and Sunday Night Football. The results of Week 5 suggest that would be a mistake - the Browns are not to be overlooked, and the Broncos are not ones to put teams away easily in 2015.