Week 3: Denver at Cincinnati
Welcome to another fabuloso edition of the Ultimate Fan Guide in which our Guia Especial do Fã, Luis Felipe Saccini, hails from São Paulo, Brazil, but still knows the best futebol is football (though, if you watched the Olympics, you also know his national team kicked some serious German arsch in a final match that was a billion times more exciting than last night’s Patriots-Texans game).
It is of significance to note that even though our Brazilian fan did not grow up watching the Broncos and the NFL, his favorite Bronco is John Elway - a player he’s had to search on YouTube to watch the QB’s greatest games. That’s dedication...and that’s awesome.
But on to the Broncos-Bengals matchup, which is really the only one we care about. The Broncos have been winning, but the offense is going to need to start taking some big strides forward, especially on the road, and no one knows that better than Kubiak.
"I just know that I’ve had a lot of great games with Cincinnati," the coach said Thursday. "It seems like every time we get together it comes down to the last possession, the last quarter. We have a lot of respect for them as coaches and players. This is their home opener. I don’t think they’ve been beat in September in a long time. That’s a tough place to play. We know it’ll be rowdy. We’ll have to play really well, we know that. We respect their team a lot."
But our ultimate fan believes in this offense under Trevor Siemian and thinks the team can get it done in the jungle. That’s what we like to hear.
MHR - Everyone wants to compare the way the Broncos are winning games this season to the way they won last season - with game-changing plays by the defense. Many thought it was unsustainable last year and it pushed the Broncos all the way to the Super Bowl. Do you see that trend continuing?
Luis Felipe Saccini: Yes, I can see that trend continuing. I think the main reason that formula has worked is the offense winning the turnover battle. The math is simple - protect the ball on offense, we win. Trevor Siemian may not be the next great QB in the league, but he can get the job done. Yes, he had a few bad picks in the first two games, but his offense looks better than Manning/Osweiler's offense last year. So there is no reason to believe he will give the game away with turnovers and the D won't get the job done.
MHR - Von Miller appears to be better than ever. What impact will it have on his game to not have DeMarcus Ware for a month or so? Will the production drop off, or could it get even better as Miller steps up to be even more of a leader?
Luis Felipe Saccini: Ware absence could hurt more if we were in 2015. I think Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe can step up as leaders of that D. Miller seems to want to show the world he is worth every penny of his contract, and he did had a forced fumble and a sack after Ware went down. Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett look ready to get the snaps Ware will miss. I could be a little too optimistic, but I do believe that we can get better even without Ware. It won't be easy, but it won't be impossible.
MHR - Derek Wolfe is often an unsung hero of this defense. With the "Orange Rush" and the "No Fly Zone," the D-line doesn't get the headlines, yet his pushes up the middle are huge - and were definitely big last year against this Bengals team. What kind of game do you expect from him?
Luis Felipe Saccini: Wolfe is my favorite player on the team. I think the work he has done on the D-Line is as important as "Orange Rush" and the "No Fly Zone" work. I'm expecting an even better game for Wolfe than last year. I will howl every time he puts Andy Dalton on the ground.
MHR - Chris Harris Jr. wants the No Fly Zone to have even more take-aways. How many do you anticipate this week against the Bengals and one of the better wide receivers in A.J. Green?
Luis Felipe Saccini: A.J. Green is great, but he was held to just 38 yards by Steelers’ secondary. He will not do a lot more against the No Fly Zone. I think it will be a long Sunday for Green and Dalton.
MHR - While the defense has been amazing, there are still some communication issues on the field, particularly in the secondary. Is it just having new personnel? Trickier schemes from offenses? Do you expect to see that taken care of this week?
Luis Felipe Saccini: Lot of new personnel on that D. Communication issues will get figured out with time and practice. I don't know if all will be corrected this week, but we all will see some improvement.
MHR - Andy Dalton has been good the last two weeks, especially as the Bengals have had a terrible running game. Would you say that plays right into the strengths of our defense?
Luis Felipe Saccini: Newton’s and Luck’s production against the Broncos were, how can I put it - NOT GOOD (*editor’s note: you can say it, Luis - they got pounded). Against other teams they have played better. I think Dalton will have similar low production, if not worse. I have Dalton on my fantasy team, and he's on the bench this week.
MHR - Trevor Siemian has thrown for a bunch of yards but not too many TDs. Why do you think the red zone has been so tough for him?
Luis Felipe Saccini: I think the main reason for not very many TDs from Siemian has a name and a surname - C.J. Anderson. C.J. has been the face of that offense for the first two games. I don't blame Kubiak for running the ball close to the end zone when our running game is doing so well. I expect to see more touchdowns from C.J. and maybe a couple from Devontae Booker and Andy Janovich.
MHR - Our young QB has handled the pressure of the Panthers and Colts at home with...everyone's favorite word...poise. How do you think a road game at a big AFC rival like the Bengals will affect him and/or his game?
Luis Felipe Saccini: Trevor needs to play at a higher level on road games. He did well at home against good teams, so I'm looking forward to seeing if Trevor can play better at Bengals’ house. I think he will continue the give us a chance to win if our D continues its job.
MHR - The offensive line has been much improved from last year, but without one of the improvements - Don Stephenson - do you think this O-line can continue to get the job done?
Luis Felipe Saccini: I know Russell Okung, Max Garcia and Matt Paradis will get the job done, and I'm hopping Darrion Weems and Michael Schofield do the same.
MHR - A lot of people here love the addition of a fullback, but Andy "The Manovich" Janovich wasn't used much last week. Would you like to see more of him this week?
Luis Felipe Saccini: I'm one of those who love the addition of Jano, so I would like to see Kubes use Jano alongside Booker as a chance for a pace runner to catch the Bengals off guard.
Stats for Trevor Siemian? 212 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT
Number of carries/yards rushing for Broncos? Anderson - 25 carries, 121 yards, 1 TD; Booker - 3 carries, 18 yards; Bibbs - no carries; Janovich - 3 carries, 45 Yards, 1 TD
Number of yards receiving for Broncos? Thomas - 109 yards, 1 TD; Sanders - 95 yards, 1 TD
Number of sacks to Siemian? 2 sacks
Number of sacks to Andy Dalton? 8 sacks
Broncos player with the most sacks? Derek Wolfe
Broncos player with the most tackles? T.J. Ward
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos? 2 INT, 2 FF and 2 FR
Final Score? Broncos 31, Bengals 20
Favorite Super Bowl win (this question is getting tougher!) Super Bowl 50
Favorite Super Bowl loss (yes, it's possible to have a favorite) Super Bowl XLVIII
Team you hate to lose to the most? Patriots
Team you love to beat? Patriots
Game most looking forward to this season? Texans, Osweiler versus that Broncos D!
Game most worried about this season? Patriots
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Derek Wolfe, because I love his intensity and his passion for the game. Seems like a good team player and a great leader. Love to howl with him.
Favorite Broncos player of all time? Elway. I didn't have the chance to watch him play because I was a little boy in São Paulo, Brazil, and I didn’t discover the NFL until 2006. But I've searched for his plays on YouTube and absolutely love him. And all the work that he has done as GM put him at the top for me.
Superstitions on game day? It depends how I will watch the game. I have two other friends who are Broncos fans, and if they can come to my house, I put my orange Manning jersey on and have to sit on the left side of the couch. If for some reason I have to watch it alone or with my girlfriend (Bears fan, poor girl), I watch the game in my room holding my Broncos hat (it tends to fly all over the room after the plays!)
Favorite Broncos jersey color combo? All orange.
How did you become a Broncos fan?
Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, the first time I watched an NFL game was in 2006, and I liked the game right away, but did not rush on the decision of the team that I would be a fan. I would watch every game ESPN Brasil broadcast and hope for a good game. But during the 2011 season, the game against the Steelers, I felt my heart pumping fast. Overtime came and Thomas scored that TD from a Tebow pass, and that was the moment I knew.
No matter what happened from that day on, I was a Broncos fan.