The Denver Broncos (3-6) have lost five-straight games and seem to be in a total free fall at this point. Losing is becoming an expected result and self fulfilling prophecy. The Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) on the other hand are competing in games and losing some close ones.
The two teams may have the same record, but one is a bit more competitive right now than the other.
- Broncos Offense: 24th in total yards per play, 25th in pass yards per play, 12th in yards per rush.
- Bengals Offense: 26th in total yards per play, 12th in pass yards per play, 31st in yards per rush.
- Broncos Defense: 6th in total yards per play, 14th in pass yards per play, 2nd in yards per rush.
- Bengals Defense: 2nd in total yards per play, 2nd in pass yards per play, 6th in yards per rush.
The outcome of this game will likely be determined by how many times the Broncos shoot themselves in the foot with stupid errors or penalties. Each week, they have found a new and interesting way to screw their chances of competing for the win.
At this point, they need a flawless game to keep from imploding. This should - by all accounts - be a defensive battle, but given the coverage issues the Broncos have had on defense in recent weeks they could face some matchup problems there.
On the offensive side, Brock Osweiler will be facing one of the best defenses in the NFL and will need to make some big plays down the field to get things going.
Keys to Victory
Run the ball
Mike McCoy needs to stick with the run. It has been working all year, but they have to abandon the run at times and that has hurt the offense. The identity of that offense is hammering the rock. The Bengals are stout against the run in that they only give up 3.9 yards per rush, but they give up 123 yards per game on the ground. It is a “weakness” that the Broncos must exploit.
Keep the defense off the field and limit the opportunity for special team blunders. If the offense is scoring points, the defense may just snap themselves out of their mistake-prone ways for a while.
Find some pressure
Von Miller is generating nearly all of the pressure along the front seven of the defense. He is second in the NFL in that regard. Meanwhile, the Broncos as a team are 29th in the NFL at generating pressure on quarterbacks.
That lack of pressure is the reason why the Broncos defense doesn’t look the same. It’s why they are not getting more turnovers. It’s why they are suffering lapses in pass coverage. It’s why they are losing games now.
Coach with some confidence
One thing I have noticed is that Vance Joseph is coaching like he is afraid of making a mistake. That mantra is actually leading to a lot of mistakes and blunders. He needs to become a decisive head coach. Lead with confidence and the team will follow.
Instead, he has been leading with trepidation and indecisiveness. That has led to a team that doesn’t play like they believe in the process or in the game plan. I’m not entirely sure Joseph can fix this problem, but its a problem that will likely lead to more frustrating outcomes in games and is worth a mention as a “key to victory”.
Do you think the Broncos will finally get a win this weekend?
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