Happy Wednesday, Broncos Country!
The Denver Broncos are 3-0 and sitting atop the AFC West while the rest of their division rivals are looking up at them from the bottom. The wins didn't come easy and weren't pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but one sure-fire take from the opening three weeks of gridiron madness is simply this: the team has one heck of a defense.
Through three weeks of play, the Broncos sport the third best scoring defense in the league, but they rank first in yards allowed. Big plays and forcing teams to many three-and-out's as well as performing well on third down in general have been the primary ingredients in Denver's early season recipe of success defensively.
Their prowess against the pass is best in the NFL, allowing just 176 yards in the air per contest. So far they have accounted for 11 sacks and six interceptions. Additionally, opposing offenses aren't doing much better running the ball either. The sixth ranked Broncos run defense is holding their competitors to a pedestrian pedestrian 3.5 yards per carry average and 82.7 yards a game on the ground. Quite simply, what we have witnessed thus far is dominance on the gridiron in regard to the Broncos prolific defense.
But what makes this years defense so special compared to years past? Broncos safety David Bruton, Jr. credits defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for the wealth of success their unit has obtained thus far.
He just puts us in positions to make a play. We always play to our strength. We've got great corners who can lock down one-on-one on the outside. We've got safeties who can play in the box or cover tight ends or come downhill and make a big play, force a fumble or whatnot. He just gives us a chance to go out there and play. It makes it easier when you have our front seven to get pressure on the quarterback. We basically get to sit back there and just feed off of what they're doing when they get the pressure.
The 2015 Denver Broncos defense has a swagger fans haven't seen in the Mile High City for well over a decade. Even though they performed high statistically in 2012 under Jack Del Rio, there is something more formidable and potent about this years group of defenders. Phillips' defense is easily the most aggressive the Broncos have had since Larry Coyer was calling the shots in 2005 and it's comforting to know they can carry the team to victory even if the offense doesn't perform to the caliber they are capable of.
Alas, they know they face a huge test this weekend when the Minnesota Vikings, led by franchise running back Adrian Peterson come to town. He is certainly a formidable player and one of, if not the best at his position in the entire league. Players on the defensive ball recognize that stopping him is the key to victory this weekend and one that defensive end Malik Jackson is taking very seriously.
"I think it's our job to make sure he doesn't get to the second level. I think it's one of those things where we're going to game plan for him and we're going to do what we do, We've got some good inside linebackers with [ILB] Danny [Trevathan] and [ILB] Brandon [Marshall] and with [ILB] Todd [Davis] coming in there. It's one of those things that I think we're going to be alright. I think we've proven ourselves the last few weeks in a row and keep proving ourselves. Each week presents a challenge. We're just going to keep working. This week it's A.P., so I think we'll find a way to do what we need to do."
If the Broncos can stop Adrian Peterson, the Vikings will have no shot at beating Denver this weekend. Their passing offense, led by Teddy Bridgewater ranks dead last in the NFL and their group of wide receivers isn't competent enough to make plays against the plethora of Pro-Bowl caliber players in the Broncos secondary. Expect the Broncos to game plan aggressively against Peterson and have him running at his worst "all day."
Power Rankings: The Denver Broncos 12 best players so far in 2015
The Denver Broncos are in a good place right now for a variety of reasons. Will Peterson, one of our friends over at Mile High Sports ranks his best twelve players of the Broncos 2015 to date. Head on over there and check out his article and the rest of their awesome Broncos related content.
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