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Ultimate Fan: Broncos will be victorious thanks to the defense

C’’s the ‘Ultimate Fan Guide’ - which team did you think we’d pick to win?

NFL: AFC Championship-New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the second blockbuster event of our double-header at the UFG, and now it’s time for the Broncos fan version - which is oddly similar to the Patriots fan’s outlook.

But keeping true to our UFG optimism, Todduscraig is rolling the dice on the Broncos this week and picking them to win behind an angry and motivated Broncos defense. Of course he knows this is “blindly optimistic,” but who cares? It’s way more fun to predict an upset win that plan on a depressing loss.

PLUS, this game is at Mile High, and we all know how well Tom Brady does at Mile High (but if you want to take the gloomier outlook, perhaps you should read the “enemy fan” guide post first).


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Week 10: Patriots at Broncos

MHR – It’s getting less fun to ask the first without getting into specifics yet, do you believe the Broncos truly can turn it around this week?
Todduscraig: Can it happen? Sure. Will it happen? Umm… probably not. I talk Broncos with lots of friends, family, and co-workers. At the start of this season, I think most of us were cautiously optimistic, but uncertain. It seemed like we made moves to improve upon the 2016 squad. It seemed like we had made the correct upgrades in players and in coaches.

And yet, here we are halfway through the season, and it feels like we are in the Broncos version of the Stranger Things upside-down. Winning from now on has warped into how the hell did we win ANY games?!? The coaches seem lost. The players seem unmotivated. The trading deadline passed without any moves or upgrades.

This is the most beguiling time to be a Broncos fan that I can remember. I feel like Fox Mulder - I want a gigantic poster behind my desk that reads, “I WANT TO BELIEVE.”

But, woof, that blowout in Philly sure makes keeping the faith…difficult.

MHR – The 3-5 Broncos are taking on the 6-2 Patriots at Mile High, which has been kryptonite for Tom Brady. But Broncos Country is tired after the four-game losing you anticipate Mile High Magic will even be able to kick in?
Todduscraig: Hey, there’s nothing like heading home, playing a reviled rival, and complete and total desperation to get the blood boiling again. If a Broncos team has ever needed a dose of Mile High Magic, it’s this one.

MHR - Broncos are the No. 1 overall defense facing the Patriots, No. 1 overall offense. But Broncos’ offense is No. 18 compared to Patriots’ No. 32 defense. So by the transitive property of zero - or just cool stats - Broncos have the advantage. Will come down to the offense or defense needing to win this one?
Todduscraig: The backbone of this team has been its defense for years now. And if we are to beat the defending Super Bowl Cheatriots, we MUST see that defensive unit rise up and put last week’s hot mess behind them.

Exhibit A: Aqib Talib is a team captain. Your team captain can’t be made to look silly giving up stupid penalties and falling for an easy fake that converts to a touchdown. Talib has to put the shutdown in shutdown corner. Woods has to come up with a scheme where Gronk is constantly blanketed as well, which is easier said than done.

MHR - What do you think of this QB “situation” (euphemism for “disaster”) in Denver? Would it be smart to play Paxton Lynch to see how he does? HELP!!!
Todduscraig: The Brock Clock is ticking only because Osweiler is a slight upgrade. But I won’t sugarcoat it; I’m squarely in the anti-Siemian crowd. Lots of Trevor fans saw him as the second coming of Tom Brady. A few of us saw him as the second coming of Kyle Orton, which seems like an insult to Kyle Orton in retrospect. To me, Trevor reminds me of the old Bill Walsh line on Steve DeBerg -- “he’s just good enough to get you beat.” I was surprised Siemian was allowed on the team plane back to Denver after his poor play against KC.

Osweiler has some tools that Trevor doesn’t - more height, more arm, and more scrambling ability. But it’s frustrating to have had him here for so long and to have had Manning as a mentor and to have so little to show for it. He seems to have matured some, but the game still seems a bit too fast for him. Although to be fair, most defenses have been coming fast at both quarterbacks through the turnstiles formerly known as Watson and Stephenson.

Unless Osweiler suddenly goes sublime and goes to 2-0 as a starter against the Patriots, I wouldn’t be surprised if this may be his last hurrah. I’m rooting for him, but…odds are that our 2018 starting quarterback isn’t yet a Bronco.

Lynch is a whole other deal. It would be a crime not to give him the reigns for the remainder of the season. It’s a waste of a No. 1 pick to let him rot on the bench and never get the chance at experience and improvement that you gave to a second-rounder and seventh-rounder. A lost season for us could be just the seasoning Lynch needs -- no pressure, just go out and learn and play and improve. Show us what ya got, kid.

MHR - A lot of hand-wringing has been going on in Broncos Country, trying to find blame for this situation. How much falls on players versus coordinators versus Vance Joseph versus John Elway? BASICALLY, whose fault is this? :)
Todduscraig: There’s a famous story about Elway’s competitiveness and a brand new pool table he had replaced after he lost a game of pool to Bubby Brister back in the day.

Vance Joseph is Elway’s new pool table. This season’s Broncos are Bubby Brister. That doesn’t bode well for VJ.

My Broncos bff, Christian, who had season tickets in the South Stands dating back to the old Mile High Stadium days, always tells the story of the grouchy old lady who had seats behind them and spent most of the late 80s screaming, “Put in Kubiak!” every time Elway would make a poor throw.

It’s almost 30 years later, but I can definitely see a scenario where that lady gets her wish. Let’s start with the awful (but very possible) thought that New England blows us out again for our fifth straight loss. VJ gets the pool table treatment and is immediately fired, and Koob takes the reigns (again) as an interim head coach. That’s my Fox Mulder theory, but you heard it here first.

MHR - In his presser this week, Bill Belichick described the Broncos offense as "explosive." Has he gone mad?
Todduscraig: Yes. *Sidenote - Diarrhea can also be explosive.

MHR - Among the few weaknesses of the Patriots is its putrid pass rush, so how can Mike McCoy and Brock Osweiler take advantage of that this week?
Todduscraig: It seemed like DT and Oz had a little connection going in Philly. That’s gotta continue. If we are gonna get out of this mess, our playmakers need to make plays. I’d work DT all over the field with short passes, screens, and slants to set up the deep ball that needs to be thrown two or three times a quarter. And while it’s nice to see McManus being the McMan again, I’m tired of not scoring touchdowns.

MHR - Every week the problem of covering TEs rears its ugly head, and this week Broncos face one of the toughest in Gronk. How on earth do we keep him from catching the ball?
Todduscraig: I think you have to play them man on man. This puts the onus on Talib and Harris to shut down Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks. That leaves Bradley Roby and Darian Stewart - and probably Brandon Marshall - to cover Gronk. I love all three of these players, but I’d like to see a mix of at LEAST two of them on Gronk at all times. Maybe all three.

MHR - Shane Ray said this week that the Broncos “just need to get our sh*t together.” Do you think it’s a matter of communication/discipline or are the Broncos just not as good as we thought they were?
Todduscraig: I’m not sure that Sergio Dipp and his analysis of Joseph and that first Broncos game didn't prove to be some odd foretelling of the future - a lot of babble and no results behind it. Joseph seems…out of his league. I’ve watched him these past few weeks pacing the sideline and shaking his head in disbelief. What I haven’t seen him do is coach.

I haven’t seen him pull a player aside after a mistake. I haven’t seen him address the players in a sideline huddle. I haven’t seen him make a timely challenge. Sometimes a player is pulled after a fumble; sometimes a player gets unlimited bad play apparently. There’s no coaching; there’s no consistency.

I was hoping for someone out of the Bill Cowher/Mike Tomlin mode of defensive coordinators who take over the head coaching reigns with focus and fire. Instead, Broncos fans have a head coach whose head-shaking and bewilderment have all of Broncoland shaking its heads in bewilderment right back at him. What did Elway see in this guy?

MHR - Every week it seems our running game lacks any sort of creativity with Jamaal Charles, Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson. HOW should the Broncos be using these guys, particularly with a not-so-awesome quarterback situation?
Todduscraig: C.J. 2017 looks like the second-coming of Sammy Winder; he can be counted on 17 carries for 40 yards. Charles looks awesome and fully recovered, but he seems trapped by his fumbles or some unknown pitch count that keeps him from getting to, you know, actually run the ball. Booker seems to have his old spark after the injury, but we just don’t have that Bell Cow running back any more. Like everything done by committee, our running game has been… lesser.

MHR - Which offensive player for the Broncos absolutely, cross-his-heart-hope-to-die must have a good game on Sunday night?
Todduscraig: Osweiler is the obvious choice. You-with-the-pretzels, or whoever is on the right side of our offensive line now, would be a close runner up.

MHR - Which defensive player for the Broncos absolutely, cross-his-heart-hope-to-die must have a good game on Sunday night?
Todduscraig: Von has been consistently brilliant. The aforementioned Talib owes us a big game after that lackluster performance last week. He needs to summon his inner Champ Bailey.

MHR - If Broncos could have one person from the Patriots, would you prefer Tom Brady or Bill Belichick?
Todduscraig: Brady. We had Belicheat, Jr. Never again.

Champ Bailey 100 yd INT 2005 AFC Divisional vs New England

Bailey picks off Brady in the end zone.


Stats for Brock Osweiler? 15-25, 230 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT

Number of carries/yards rushing/ TDs for Broncos RBs? 35/175/2TDs

Number of yards receiving for Broncos receivers ? 200

Longest FG? 50

Number of sacks to Osweiler? 2 or 3 would be a miracle. More likely 5 or 6.

Number of sacks to Tom Brady? 6, if the defense leads us to a win.

Broncos player with the most tackles? Derek Wolfe

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 1 INT

Final Score? 24-17, Denver…which is blindly optimistic.

The Favorites

Favorite Broncos game EVER? Super Bowl 32. “This one’s for John!”

Team you hate to lose to the most? The Raiders

Team you love to beat? One guess...

Game most looking forward to this season? I would say New England. If we get beat this week, my answer changes to the last one of the season.

Game you think will end up being most important this season? This one. This season will be a complete disaster if we don’t show some signs of life. Now.

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller

Favorite Broncos player of all time? John Elway

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Domata Peko

Superstitions on game day? Recently, it’s been trying to hold off of binge drinking the pain away until halftime. It’s getting more and more difficult.

Favorite Von Miller sack dance? This take-a-seat moment against Phyllis Quivers.

Least favorite game analyst/commentator? I’m still emotionally scarred from Phil Simms. I thought Tony Romo was going to save our season; turns out he just made our season tolerable to listen to again.

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, shows off dance moves

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How did you become a Broncos fan?

I’m a middle school English teacher living in Colorado Springs, but I’m originally from South Dakota, which is a state divided in two by the Missouri River. If you’re from West River, you got Denver channels on your cable. If you’re from East River, you got Minneapolis channels. So as a result, South Dakotans are either Broncos fans or Vikings fans.

I was 12 in 1983 when Elway arrived, and I remember being mesmerized by his competitiveness, his scrambling, and his never-say-die style of play. I was hooked then, and I’m proud to share the fun and energy of Broncos games with my own son, Joshua, who just turned 11 this year and loves Von Miller because Von wears glasses just like he does. :)

(*editor’s note: I absolutely love that!)

MHR -’re an English teacher??? Then you get one more question: C.J. Anderson, a Cal Berkeley grad, has the worst grammar ever on Twitter. Please review the following tweets and give us a grade!

Todduscraig: So... It's early and I'm barely awake, but with apologies to Don Rickles, a few grammatical one-liners:

C.J.'s tweets are 140 characters - with only 138 of them out of place.

C.J. Anderson is to the English language what Menelik Watson is to blocking -Offensive.

If his grammar were any worse, he'd misspell his first name.

If only Anderson hit spell check as often as he hit the ground after three yards, he might offer a coherent thought.

(*editor’s note: So he fails right? Good job, Mr. English Teacher!)


Which is more likely - C.J. improves his Twitter grammar, or the Broncos beat the Patriots on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    There’s NO way that grammar is getting better...Broncos win all the way!
    (33 votes)
  • 51%
    Tough one, but I don’t see Broncos getting past Pats, so I guess C.J.’s going to find a tutor when he has free time in the early offseason.
    (50 votes)
  • 5%
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    (8 votes)
98 votes total Vote Now