The Denver Broncos have gotten through the soft part of their schedule with a perfect 3-0 record, but will face their first real test of the season against a 2020 playoff team in the Baltimore Ravens. Can they come out on top and remain undefeated to start the season?
This game is going to come down to who can do better in the red zone. The Broncos have one of the best red zone defenses to start the season and Vic Fangio’s defenses tend to always be pretty good in the red area. When asked about it on Friday, Fangio predictably gave credit to the players.
“Just the players playing good down there,” Fangio said. “Anything you do good in this league is due to players playing good and they’ve certainly done a good job down there in the past. We haven’t had as many opportunities down there in the first three games as we normally would have, but if the Ravens get down there they present a lot of problems.”
The other side of the ball the Broncos offense under Teddy Bridgewater has been excellent at sustaining long drives and controlling the clock, but they are settling for way too many field goals. That has to change and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur understands that.
“I think we just have to finish in general,” Shurmur said on Thursday. “We’ve controlled the ball well. I think we’ve gotten into the red zone on half of our drives, which is a good thing. This early in the year, you can point to specifics, drive-killing plays. We’ve had two turnovers. We had one where we took a knee. We had another one where we took a sack early in the downs. Typically, when you get into the red zone, if you have a minus yardage play of some sort, it makes it very difficult to then score a touchdown. Those are all the things you point to. Fortunately enough for us, we’ve scored enough points to win these games, but as time goes on, you’re always looking to improve.”
If Denver can continue to be stout on defense in the red zone and their offense can finally break loose in the red zone, they should be able to handle anything Baltimore throws at them along the way. We’ll just have to see how it plays out today.