After 9 weeks of NFL action the Denver Broncos are a team of roller coaster swings. Starting 3-0, falling to 3-4, and rebounding to 5-4 probably wasn’t the plan, but it puts Broncos Country in an interesting spot.
Ian St. Clair and I discussed the Broncos on the MHR Radio Podcast. The question remains, what is this team?
The honest outlook for Denver heading into the season was a ceiling of playoffs, but not a deep run, and a floor of about 4 wins. Between 7 and 9 wins seems to be the most likely outcome, but heading into their Week 10 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, there is a question about what exactly this Broncos team is.
The concern is that they are the team that showed up against the Cleveland Browns and Washington Football Team. A bad team, with no direction, a terrible offense and a struggling defense. That’s the team that had Broncos Country calling for firings, and trades, and begging for better days.
Then came the stomping of the Dallas Cowboys. At 5-4, it felt like a bit of a revival. The running game was more than on track. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams carried the load against the Cowboys. The offense looked like it was capable of controlling the game. Even with issues on the offensive line, Pat Shurmur kept going back to the running well, and it paid off.
Denver’s defense also stepped up against a Cowboys offense that got back Dak Prescott, and is regarded as a Super Bowl caliber unit. They shut down Dak and Ezekiel Elliot, and recovered quickly from the loss of Von Miller. It was the performance we expected from the Broncos all season.
The question is, can they duplicate it? It’s been a tough season for the Broncos. Whatever this team is, the Eagles will be an interesting test. Back home against another NFC East opponent, the Broncos have a chance at going undefeated against the division, and going into the bye week at 6-4.
That would be an interesting place to be. The playoffs would still be a possibility, and some might start to see them as an inevitability. If Shurmur can continue to call a good offensive game, whether he has a plan or not, the Broncos should put up points against the Eagles defense.
The Broncos may struggle with the Eagles offensive game plan, but Fangio’s defense looked good enough to overcome potential issues. Even after the Von Miller trade (perhaps because of it), the defense came together to show they could handle the pressure of playing without their defensive leader.
We may not know what the Broncos are right now, but it could be a whole lot of finding finding out over the next few weeks.