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Ultimate Fan: Looking for Broncos defense to have a big day

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Thanksgiving may be long gone, but our Ultimate Fan is expecting another big feast by this Broncos defense.

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

WooHoo, Broncos Country! Our favorite team is 5-6, but somehow still in the playoff conversation, and I am convinced it is because of Ultimate Fans like you who have continually recognized the value in this team and more importantly the value in believing in this team.

And this week’s ultimate fan - who came through in a pinch at the very single last minute possible because the original UFG is MIA - has some great advice for this team today...let’s hope the players are listening.

Baghdad is a regular commenter who never minces words and never belabors a point, so he is the PERFECT ultimate fan for us on a Sunday morning just before an early Broncos game. Basically - go win.

LET’S GO BRONCOS!

Week 13: Broncos at the Bengals

MHR - What were your thoughts going into the Pittsburgh game and what were they after the huge win? Was there a point in the game where you changed your mind on what this team could be this season - or are you still skeptical?
Baghdad:I really didn’t expect them to win because Pittsburgh just always seems so tough. The win showed me I was wrong, and they can beat a good team, that the toughness they showed at times isn’t a fluke.

MHR - After two big wins over teams in the playoff hunt plus close games against two of the best in the NFL right now, the obvious concern against playing a 5-6 team with a backup QB is that this could be a trap game for the Broncos. If you were asked to give the team a pep talk today, what would you say?
Baghdad: “We are a Super Bowl team, not some team that gets pushed around by a bunch of _______! We have to play every game like a playoff game because this is it! Today we play Broncos football - tough, smart, no mistakes. No missed tackles, no holding, PI. Go get em!”

MHR - Case Keenum seems to be handling his nerves better the last few games. What do you attribute to his improved play - comfort with the scheme? Better play calling? Chemistry with the receivers? Fear of losing his job? ;)
Baghdad: I believe you hit on all of it. It is a surprise to me that he’s broken out of his shell, and I hope we continue to see improvement every week. Maybe the continuity of the last few weeks have gotten him settled in. Each week, I’m hoping he doesn’t lose the game, maybe the time will come when he wins it for us.

MHR - The Bengals will have the young and athletic Jeff Driskell as signal caller since Andy Dalton is on IR with a broken thumb. What kind of opportunities and challenges does this pose for the Broncos D?
Baghdad: The defense needs to get after Driskell right from the start and not let him get into a groove. I hope to see interceptions, batted balls and sacks. Driskell will falter if he’s getting hit and rushed every down. If he starts running around, I hope they stay in their lanes and keep him in front of them (*editor’s note: Steve Atwater would love you for saying that last part!)

MHR - Although the Broncos’ run defense was gashed by a couple of running backs in two games earlier this season, they have become a formidable force of late, not allowing their last five opponents to tally more than 100 yards rushing. Bengals’ Joe Mixon averages nearly 80 yards a game rushing but he’s also a threat in the passing game, having combined for an average of 110 yards at the six home games. How do the Broncos stop him?
Baghdad: There needs to be enough penetration to stop Mixon behind the line before he ever gets rolling. Maybe one spy to keep his screens shut down.

MHR - Which offensive weapon is more of a threat to the Broncos - Joe Mixon or A.J. Green?
Baghdad:I would think A.J.Green because he is the big play guy to me. Hopefully Chris Harris Jr. is on him in man and shuts him down. He’s such a good tackler - and he might get some shots on Mixon too.

MHR - Rookie corner Isaac Yiadom was forced into service last week after Tramaine Brock got injured. He struggled early but got a quick education and came back strong after getting burned. What did you think of Yiadom - will he be a good addition to the secondary?
Baghdad: I think so, I’m excited about him and all the young guys; the only way he’ll learn is by playing. Let him get his skills up. There will be mistakes, but steady improvement is a priority.

MHR - It’s refreshing to have an offense this year with a so many talented skill players plus a decent QB - from veteran Emmanuel Sanders to undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay. What sort of run-pass ratio would you like the Broncos to use this week?
Baghdad: I want to see a 60/40 ratio for run to pass plays. Go with our strength.

MHR - The takeaways by the Broncos defense last week were timely and crucial - and possibly a little bit lucky. But as my friend likes to say, “you’ve got to be there to be lucky.” Is our defense good enough to make this team a playoff contender?
Baghdad: Of course! But they have to believe it! The back end might struggle a little but the front end is stout. I want to see some bully play - Von Miller needs to bring all his tricks.

MHR - Same question for the offense - can it be consistently good enough to score the points it needs to in order to compete and win...maybe even making the playoffs?
Baghdad: I believe so. They need a simple game plan, imho, until Case gets comfortable. Let the Bengals get worn out with the running game before you try to hit a deep one. Or just hit mid-range passes if that’s what Case likes. Play to his strengths because we live or die by him not throwing interceptions and making first downs. NO 3-and-outs, PLEASE!

MHR - In general, what are your hopes for this game against the Bengals?
Baghdad:150 yards rushing; 300 yards passing; D scores, gets three sacks and three interceptions. (*editor’s note again: I’m definitely sure Steve Atwater would love that!)

Predictions

Stats for Case Keenum? 20 yds rushing, 300 passing, 1 TD

Stats for each Broncos RB? 100 yards Phillip Lindsay; 50 yards Royce Freeman

Number of yards receiving/TDs for each receiver? Emmanuel Sanders 150/2 TDs; Courland Sutton, 100 yards/1 TD.

Longest FG for McManus? 55

Number of sacks to Keenum? 0

Number of sacks to Jeff Driskell?

Broncos player with the most tackles? Chris Harris Jr.

Broncos player with the most penalties? 0 penalties

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 3 INT/ 3 FF/ 3 FR

Final Score? Broncos 38 Bengals 20

The Favorites

Favorite Broncos game EVER? 1st Broncos Super Bowl

Team(s) you hate to lose to the most? Patriots, Chiefs, Ravens, Seahawks

Team you love to beat? Patriots

Favorite upcoming game this season? Raiders

Toughest game (left) on the schedule? Chargers

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller

Favorite Broncos player of all time? John Elway

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Bradley Chubb

Superstitions on game day? If I don’t watch, they lose

Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Cris Collinsworth

Favorite sports cliche? “We got em right where we want em”

How did you become a Broncos fan?

Moved to denver in 1994/95 and the Nuggets were in playoffs. We were both fans of the darkside, but got tickets to all the Denver playoff games. The people were so great and it was more fun than I had in years. So...we got lucky and got Broncos season tickets, fell in love with the town, the team, that old metal stadium, the people…..good times.

Poll

Since Baghdad is clearly a lover of defense (yay!), which defensive player needs to have the biggest game today?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Von Miller
    (38 votes)
  • 10%
    Chris Harris Jr.
    (10 votes)
  • 15%
    Domata + Derek + Adam
    (14 votes)
  • 13%
    Bradley Chubb
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Justin Simmons
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    Isaac Yiadom
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    duh, "Whorfin"
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    "Shasta"
    (2 votes)
92 votes total Vote Now