The Broncos will face their first road test this weekend against a beat-up Ravens’ team, but that doesn’t mean this game will be any easier. Playing the early game and having some injury doubts of its own, Denver needs to take care of the ball on offense and take it away on defense if it wants to make it to Monday with a 3-0 record.
But to make sure we are fully prepared for this test, kingbronco58 - a CU grad who will be attending the game - is helping us review just what this 2018 Broncos team needs to do to maintain its perfect record (and keep us heading for 19-0, amirite Whorfin?)
And if you’re wondering just how dedicated a fan kingbronco is...well, he joined us the year Josh McDaniels took over so that shows his true dedication to this team!
Week 3: Broncos at Ravens
MHR - What is your reaction to the 20-19 win over the Raiders - does it increase your confidence in this team because of the way it came back, or does it worry you that the Broncos were so close with a team that it seemingly should have dominated
kingbronco58: I would have to say I’m concerned the Broncos needed a last-second field goal to win the game. The Raiders weren’t doing anything special against us and the lack of adjustments on the defensive side of the ball were frustrating. As Coach Joseph said this week, they had a bad game plan. It’s incredible that the coaching staff didn’t try to mix things up when Carr had a completion percentage over 90 percent.
On the offensive side of the ball, I expected we would eventually see drives stall and we would see some three-and-outs. However, I didn’t think we’d be going three-and-out for the majority of the first half.
Glad we made some adjustment at half and came out swinging, but those adjustments need to happen a lot earlier. We aren’t going to beat talented teams in one half of football.
MHR - Phillip Lindsay has been surprising a lot of people (and teams), but as a CU grad, are you surprised by what he is doing in the NFL so far?
kingbronco58: I actually was part of Lindsay’s graduating class, so as a CU alum, I fully expected Lindsay to be a star in the NFL. Lindsay was the heart and soul of the CU offense for the last few years. Even when the Buffs were doing terribly last season, it was always fun watching them play. I don’t do a ton of draft analysis, but I thought Lindsay would be worthy of a fourth-round pick and was surprised to see him fall. I hoped the Broncos would take a flyer on him in the 7th round but was thrilled when he signed with the Broncos - even as a UDFA. I am a little surprised by his contributions in special teams, which is something he never did at CU, but as far as his impact as running back, I fully expected it.
MHR - Speaking of running backs, the Broncos’ running game has been a highlight for the first time in a while, ranking second in the NFL for yards per carry. Going against a Ravens defense that right now ranks 11th in run defense for yards per carry, how should the Broncos’ offense utilize its run game this weekend?
kingbronco58: We have played two games this season, so I think it’s too early to tell if the Ravens are legitimately a great run-stopping defense. Additionally C.J. Mosley may not be fully healthy for this game. The Broncos should still be able to get their running game going on Sunday, given they have two very different runners in Lindsay and Royce Freeman.
Historically, the Broncos haven’t been extremely successful when they abandon the run, so I would like to see a good balance between throwing the ball and running it this Sunday. And even if running the ball isn’t very successful, we should not abandon it; it’s fundamental to opening up our offense.
MHR - Case Keenum has thrown more than half as many interceptions in his first two games with Denver as he did all last season with Minnesota. Does this concern you and how would you game plan to give him confidence in throwing but not provide too many opportunities for an INT?
kingbronco58: Yes this does concern me since the rate he is throwing interceptions suggests we got the pre-2017 Case Keenum. That said, he has responded very well after interceptions - unlike what we saw from our quarterbacks last year. It’s important to get Keenum comfortable, so I’d like to see Musgrave give him some quick easy throws to start and also call some plays designed to involve Emmanuel Sanders early.
Keenum has shown great chemistry with Sanders and has looked good when No. 10 is involved in the game. Mix in the run game to open up the play action pass. If the offense can show some balance, and keep the Ravens defense off balance, then Keenum should look a lot better.
MHR - Jared Veldheer could be out with a concussion this game, so what could that do to offensive line’s stability so far this season and what could it mean for Baltimore’s pass rushing ability?
kingbronco58: When Billy Turner entered the game on the Sunday the offense didn’t miss a beat. Of course it helps that the Raiders had traded their best rusher and couldn’t provide any pressure. I do think it would be a huge hit if Veldheer can’t play on Sunday. The starting offensive line has looked much better then I would have imagined, but if Turner gets the start, expect Baltimore to bring some pressure on Keenum. . I don’t think Turner looked great in preseason, so it will become even more critical for Denver to get the run game going and throw some quick passes.
MHR - Last week the Broncos’ secondary didn’t play press-man and it cost them as the Raiders methodically worked their way down the field on most of their drives, keeping their offense on the field and wearing down our defense. How should the Broncos’ defense attack Flacco and the Ravens’ offense this week?
kingbronco58: Unlike Carr, Flacco is much more likely to hold on to the ball and go for the big play and look for chunk yards. That said, if receivers are open, Flacco is smart enough to take what’s there. The Broncos should do what they do best and play press man and rely on their pass rush. If the Broncos’ pass rush can land some hits on Flacco and get in his head, the defense won’t get carved up like it did last week. If we come out playing off coverage, it’s gonna be another long game on the defensive side of the ball.
The Denver Broncos defense has more sacks than third down conversions allowed so far. https://t.co/CsOCE5zhqd— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 21, 2018
MHR - The Ravens haven’t utilized running back Alex Collins too much so far, but there is talk that he needs to be built into the scheme more often because of his pass-catching ability. How do you think he will fare against the Broncos’ run defense if he gets more touches?
kingbronco58: He will do OK, but the Broncos’ run defense has been pretty stout thus far. Collins will fare right around the 3.5 ypc mark if he gets more touches. He is certainly a talented back, but there’s a reason he’s been featured so much in a weak Ravens backfield. Collins has had a knack for fumbling the ball; if he gets more touches, I would hope the Broncos are able to force atleast one turnover.
MHR - Shaq Barrett doesn’t get as many snaps as the rookie Bradley Chubb, but he has been very effective when he’s in. Do you think he should be involved more in the defense, even more than Chubb at this point?
kingbronco58: This is a really tough question. Right now I would say no. Chubb may not be racking up the sacks like Von, but he hasn’t been a liability on the field. Chubb has done a fantastic job defending the run so far this season, and as the season continues, I think he will develop as a pass rusher. Barrett has been great over the last few years, and I think he deserves a bump in playing time. I would be thrilled to see Barrett in more and let him expel Chubb and help keep all our pass rushers fresh. I think at most Barrett and Chubb should split the reps evenly. I would hate to prevent our first-round draft pick from developing as the year progresses.
MHR - Chris Harris doesn’t seem too worried about covering the Ravens’ receivers, namely Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead IV. But John Brown could be another story. How do you think Harris and his fellow corners/safeties will fare against this WR corps?
kingbronco58: I think the Ravens have a fairly underrated group of receivers. They may not have any really big names at the position, but they have put together some solid outings this season. The Ravens’ biggest X-factor has to be John Brown, who has had his moments this season. I would like to see Harris follow Brown, since I think he is the only one with the speed and technique to keep up.
Bradley Roby can handle Crabtree, though it won’t be as entertaining as Talib vs. Crabtree, and I think our No. 3 corner can handle Snead. Overall the secondary should do a pretty good job if Woods calls the defense to it strengths and plays press man coverage. If they give the Ravens offense “too much respect” like they did last week, the secondary will be torched. I want to see Dymonte Thomas match up on Mark Andrews, who put together a solid outing against the Bengals last week.
MHR - Which players will be playmakers on Sunday?
kingbronco58: On defense the obvious playmaker is Von Miller, so I’ll pick someone else. I think Justin Simmons shines on Sunday as he is going to get his fair share of opportunities to make plays. With Flacco enjoying taking deep shots, Simmons should be able to get some opportunities to make big hits and get his second INT of the season.
On offense, I’m going to go with fellow CU alum Phillip Lindsay. Lindsay has been a big spark on offense and is extremely shifty. This will be his first road game, and I expect his impact to be felt on the road as well. Beyond Lindsay, I think Sanders will have a big day against the Ravens as well.
Phillip Lindsay's quickness is insane. Watch how fast he changes his speed and direction. pic.twitter.com/IKzSJhMf11— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 17, 2018
Stats for Case Keenum? 19/28, 273 yards, 2 TDs 1 INT
Stats for each Broncos RB? Lindsay 15 carries for 87 yards 1 TD; Freeman 12 carries for 65 yards
Number of yards receiving/TDs for each Broncos receiver? Emmanuel Sanders, 7 receptions for 106 yards and 1 TD; Demaryius Thomas, 4 receptions for 46 yards; Courtland Sutton, 3 receptions for 50 yards, 1 TD
Longest FG for McManus? 53 yards
Number of sacks to Keenum? 3 sacks
Number of sacks to Flacco/Jackson? 4 sacks
Broncos player with the most tackles? Simmons
Broncos player with the most sacks? Vonster
Broncos player with the most penalties? Roby
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 1/2/1
Final Score? Toughest game so far, but Broncos win 24-20
Favorite Broncos game EVER? The 2012 game against the Chargers when the Broncos overcame a 24-0 deficit at halftime.
Team(s) you hate to lose to the most? Patriots and Raiders
Team you love to beat? Patriots
Favorite upcoming game this season? This one, since I’ll get to attend it and sit in the second row of the end zone!
Toughest game on the schedule? L.A. Rams - facing Aqib Talib and Wade Phillips is gonna be brutal
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller
Favorite Broncos player of all time? Peyton Manning and Miller
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Phillip Lindsay
Superstitions on game day? I’ll sit on the same spot on the couch, and if we do poorly, I start switching spots or standing.
Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Now that Simms is done being a commentator, I have to go with Collinsworth.
Favorite sports cliche? “Do your job”
Favorite sports movie? “Rudy”
How did you become a Broncos fan?
The first Broncos game I ever watched was the Broncos’ loss to the Steelers in the 2005 AFC Championship. But I didn’t really get hooked on football until a few years after that. I started watching closely and learning the game of football and cheering for the Broncos the season they hired McDaniels.
What will there be "more of" in this game?
This poll is closed
Sacks by Von Miller
Interceptions by Flacco
Interceptions by Keenum
Touchdowns by Lindsay
50+ yarders by McManus
Pick-sixes by CHJ