The real Denver Broncos showed up last Sunday night in what turned out to be a truly epic performance by the entire team, soundly beating the Green Bay Packers while honoring owner Pat Bowlen (along with the 1997 Super Bowl team) in the best way possible - a total team victory.
But now the Broncos have another big road test on the way to 8-0 as they face AFC rival Indianapolis - the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in Denver last season. Although the 3-5 Colts are seemingly out of contention, quarterback Andrew Luck takes after his predecessor in that you can never count him out - or his team. Aside from the potential records to be set, the Broncos have that pretty embarrassing playoff loss to avenge and the Colts have a season to salvage - two destinies colliding to make for another stellar football game.
More importantly, our ultimate fan, Tyler Disney, is going to be at the game in his orange Peyton Manning jersey ready to do the Rocky Top dance when he breaks his records.
MHR - The Green Bay game FINALLY showed an offense clicking. What makes you confident that we will see that again against Indianapolis?
For the record, I never lost hope in Manning and our offense. It was so satisfying to see our offense start rounding into midseason form last week. It's pretty safe to say that our offense has improved a little bit each week since that Week 2 game against the Chiefs, taking the biggest leap forward last week with a fairly complete offensive performance. I am confident we will continue to see improvement going forward.
MHR - What did you like the most offensively from that win over the Packers?
The thing I liked the most about the offense this week was the serious improvement that our offensive line is showing. A lot of questions have sprung up over the first half of the season in regards to our offense, but I think most of our offensive woes have come from poor offensive line play. Our league leading rusher (C.J. Anderson) suddenly became one of the worst rushers in the NFL over the offseason, and our HOF Quarterback was starting to look like
Andrew Luck Matt Schaub. I think, at this point, it is pretty safe to say that it was mostly due to so many changes to the offensive line during the break.
Last week was a perfect example of what our offense is going to look like if we can get consistently good play from our offensive line. Everything starts up front. It's a cliché, but it's the truth. An offense relies on its linemen to get itself into a position to make plays, and boy oh boy do we have some playmakers.
MHR - Peyton Manning could break two records this weekend - most career wins (tied with Brett Favre at 186) and most passing yards (needs 284 to surpass Favre). Will he get both this weekend - and if so, how cool is it that it would come against his former team?
I think Manning will get both records against a beleaguered Colts team that just had to fire its offensive coordinator. They are in a full tailspin here in Indy, and I expect that to continue this week against the No. 1-ranked Denver defense. Andrew Luck is having a terrible season, and while I do think he will turn things around eventually, I don't think it will happen Nov.8. I expect our defense to get at least two interceptions Sunday and give our offense the ball back a few times.
I think it would be very fitting for these records to come against his former team while playing here in Indy. I live in Indianapolis, so I know firsthand the kind of impact Manning has had and continues to have on the Indianapolis community. Most of the Colts fans I run into here still have a lot of respect for Manning, and they usually root for Denver when they aren't playing against the Colts.
MHR - The Broncos got a blow Monday when they learned starting LT Ty Sambrailo would be IR'd. But the O-Line has played pretty well the last two games. Do you think the current unit is a good one against some of the Colts' big-time defenders?
I am so sad for Sambrailo, he was really turning into a solid starter for us when he went down. I hope he has a swift recovery and comes back strong for us next season.
I believe our offensive line will continue its improvement against the Colts 29th-ranked defense. The Colts' defense has the fifth fewest sacks in the NFL so far this season, and I don't expect improvement from them against our line that allowed ZERO last week against a Green Bay defense that was averaging 3.8 sacks per game before coming to Mile High.
Games vs. teams who currently have a winning record in 2015 Broncos 3-0 Steelers 2-2 No one else has more than 1 win @MileHighReport— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) November 4, 2015
Robert Mathis is a great pass rusher, but I think we will be able to limit him like we did Julius Peppers last week. We will be able to game plan around Mathis because he is the only really great pass rusher that Indy has right now. And Trent Cole and Erik Walden have so far been a huge disappointment this year.
The Colts have some pretty stout run defenders, but if we can spread them out a bit like we did last week, we should have continued success in the run game as well. The Colts defense is ranked in the bottom 10 of the league in every category that matters, including points allowed and yards allowed. I do think their defense is better than the stats indicate because of the terrible situations that Andrew Luck has put them in, but they are not a top 10 defense by any stretch of the imagination.
MHR - What do you think of the addition of Vernon Davis and when do you expect him to be able to make an impact with this offense?
Vernon Davis is going to be a big-time addition to the offense. I am not expecting him to have any major production this week, because I think it will take him a couple weeks to get up to speed with our offense. However, I expect him to really start contributing during the Patriots game and beyond. Maybe even as early as the KC game. We will hopefully see him ramp up in the coming month, and look to replace some of the production we have lost with the exit of Julius Thomas. He is a better run blocker than JT was too, so I hope to see him contributing in that department soon as well.
MHR - What offensive stat would you like to see be awesome for the Broncos in this game - and why is that one the most important this week?
I hope to see some passing touchdowns this week. It is the one area of our offense that we haven't seen much production from this season so far. We have had some great long passing plays to get the ball down the field in the recent weeks, but we haven't had a game with multiple passing TDs since our Week 3 game in Detroit.
One area that I feel like our team is still struggling is our red zone passing game, and I hope we can punch a few passes into the end zone this week to get Manning back into the green with his TD/INT ratio. This is one area I expect the Vernon Davis acquisition to eventually help us improve in as well.
It is important to get our receivers some TDs every now and then. It helps keep them motivated.
MHR - Which player do you expect to stand out from the Broncos offense this Sunday?
I think Emmanuel Sanders is going to have a good week this week. The Colts have a great No. 1 cover corner in Vontae Davis to handle DT, but after that they don't have much in the way of stellar coverage. I think Sanders is going to get open a lot this week and make some big plays. (Hopefully a few TDs)
MHR - Andrew Luck has been up-and-down all year, but mostly down as the Colts are 3-5. After a tough OT loss on the road, a head coach on the hot seat and the previous OC getting fired Tuesday, what kind of offense should the Broncos defense be ready for in Indy?
I'm not sure how much change we will see from the Colts offense this week. I expect that we will see some improvement in their play calling. (Pep Hamilton's play calling was notoriously horrendous from what I have heard) Rob Chudzinski should help improve that somewhat as he takes over the spot, but I don't expect much change from the looks we have seen from them in the span of a short week.
The Colts issues run much deeper than the offensive coordinator. They have a pretty terrible owner in Jim Irsay, and their GM Ryan Grigson has been horrendously bad at placing talent around Andrew Luck, especially on their O-Line. Luck has been running for his life all season, and that is only going to be worse for him this week against our defense.
MHR - T.Y. Hilton ran over the Broncos last year in the playoffs (thanks Del Rio for not putting our best corner on him). If Hilton plays, how do you expect a Hilton-Chris Harris Jr. matchup to go this time around?
Things are going to go much differently. I expect Talib will be on Andre Johnson most of the night and CHJ will take T.Y. Hilton. Our secondary is the best in the NFL this season and Wade Phillips isn't going to make the same mistakes we saw from Del Rio last year.
Hilton has been fairly pedestrian for the Colts so far this season with 38 receptions on 82 targets. He has made a few nice grabs, but it all goes with Andrew Luck. Luck has been very inaccurate, so Hilton has been mediocre. Even IF Luck improves this week, I still don't see Hilton burning CHJ. I expect Hilton to have another rough day Sunday.
MHR - The Colts have started slow almost every game and then rallied late, occasionally coming away with the win. What does the Broncos defense need to do to not let the Colts rally
We need to stay aggressive with our defensive play calling like we did against Green Bay. I don't expect a rally from the Colts this week. Wade Phillips is going to keep dialing up the pressure and our defense will break their spirit. I want to see the despair on their faces when they have to come back out to face our D.
MHR - What will be more dangerous to the Colts - our pass rush or the No Fly Zone?
Our pass rush is going to get home this week for sure. The Colts offensive line is a dumpster fire of shame and sadness this season, and the Orange Crush is going to feast upon it this Sunday.
MHR - What defensive stat would you like to see be awesome for the Broncos in this game - and why is that one the most important this week?
This is a tough one because all of our defensive stats have been so excellent all season. It is hard to choose just one. I think the most important one will be our QB pressures/sack count for this game. We need to get to Luck early and often to keep him in his funk. If we do that then he will start trying to force throws and make some costly mistakes in the form of INTs.
MHR - Which defensive player will be the biggest of the beasts this weekend?
Von Miller is going to get my vote this week. He has been very effective all season, but we have yet to see him turn in a truly dominant performance mostly due to offenses scheming for him. I think that changes during this game. Look for him to turn in a multi-sack performance this week against a very weak Colts O-Line coming off a short week.
MHR - Broncos are a 4.5-point favorite on the road, yet 1-2 against the Colts (even when favored). What do the Broncos need to do to NOT look past the Colts just because they're having a rough start?
The Broncos definitely can't get caught looking past this game. The Colts have some talented players and a QB that can punish teams that aren't prepared for him. I expect the Broncos to prepare hard for a tough team that we are more than capable of dominating at this stage of their season. We can't let up on the gas against them or they will make us pay for it, as we saw against Carolina last week on MNF.
Stats for Manning? 31/38, 320 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Yards rushing? Hillman - 20 carries for 85 yards; Anderson - 16 carries for 75 yards,1 TD
Receiver with the most yards? Sanders - 10 receptions, 175 yards, 2 TDs
Number of sacks to Manning? 1
Number of sacks on Andrew Luck? 5
Broncos player with the most sacks? Von Miller with 2.5
Broncos player with the most tackles? Brandon Marshall with 7
Number of penalties on the Broncos? 3 on offense / 4 on defense
Field goals by "McMoney?"1 for 38 yards
Final Score? 31-13 Broncos
- Favorite Broncos win EVER? I have to go with Super Bowl XXXII. Greatest victory by our team, and the most memorable for me as a child.
- Favorite Broncos' loss (*this is not a trick question!!)? Jan 2, 2010, versus the San Diego Chargers. Broncos set a new franchise record for losses in a season, and cemented the McDaniels firing. It also brought Elway in as our GM. It was our low point as a franchise, but it also brought about the best change for the better that our team has ever had.
- Favorite Broncos' jersey combo? Blue jerseys with white pants
- Team you hate to lose to the most? Probably the Patriots. It used to be the Raiders, but they have been irrelevant for so long that my hatred for them has faded over the last 15 years.
- Game most looking forward to in the last 10 weeks? Patriots on Nov 29. We are going to put a smack down on the Patsies who haven't played a great team all year so far.
- Game most worried about in the last 10 weeks? Cincinnati Bengals on Dec 28. I have a feeling we will overlook them slightly because of the timing of that game and they could give us our first and last loss of the season.
- Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller because he is such a character. He is an extremely talented player, but he also just seems like the most fun guy to be around.
- Favorite Broncos player of all time? John Elway - Do I really need to say why? :P Champ Bailey is a close second though.
- Superstitions on game day? I have a blue Von Miller jersey and an orange Peyton Manning jersey. I wear the jersey of the unit I think needs to show up more that week on game day, and the other one on Friday to work. This season I have been wearing Von to work a lot more and Manning on game day. LOL
How did you become a Broncos fan?
I have been a Broncos fan from birth. I was born in Oklahoma and have moved around the country quite a bit. However, my dad was born in Littleton, Colo., and my grandparents still live there. We visit Denver every couple years for Christmas, and I grew up watching the Broncos with him every week. Even now that I live 8 hours away from him, we still text all the way through each game to cheer on the team.
Since I moved to Indianapolis, I was very excited when Manning went to the Broncos. He is such a great player and role model, and there is really no one like him in the NFL. He sets such a great example for others to follow, and he motivates his team like no other.