Good morning, Broncos Country!
The NFL announced team preseason schedules yesterday, and that of course prompts predictions, speculations, accusations (maybe even burninations?)
I'm not one for predictions - other than 19-0 baby! (duh) - but I can't help get a little excited about these preseason match-ups. I know it's only preseason...but it's also preSEASON. And that means regular season just four weeks later, so the fact that we are talking about anything game-related is cool.
And also, I kind of really like the teams in our preseason schedule.
Seattle Seahawks - First up:
I know Peyton Manning and the first-team offense will be in this game for one or only a few series, and our defense will be pretty vanilla even when the backups are in, but still, it is the Seahawks, and that makes it a rivalry game on so many levels:
- Good v. Evil
- Pocket Passer v. Mobile QB
- Emmanuel Sanders and his five-mile smile v. Marshawn "I'm just here so I won't get fined" Lynch
- Chris Harris, Jr. (the actual best cornerback in the NFL) v. Richard Sherman (the self-proclaimed best cornerback in the history of everything.)
- And of course, let's not forget Broncos fans v. 12th Man. Road trip, anyone?
It will be more than a year removed from SB48, which means we should avoid "Super Bowl Rematch" media hype (a girl can dream, right?), but this is a rivalry game. I love that we open with the Seahawks again, and I don't even care that it's in Seattle. The Broncos need to learn how to get fired up for away games, and rivalry teams are great for that.
Both teams will be rusty, stars won't get much action, but it's awesome to have an adversarial game first. Plus, it will also be good for Brock Osweiler and the other backups to experience playing in a hostile environment. We should find out right away how much our "kicking and screaming" has improved.
Houston Texans - Going home again:
This one should be fun as long as our coaching staff remembers its players now wear orange and blue (and that unfortunately No. 99 is not on our side). Though, maybe J.J. Watt will get confused and just come to our bench anyway. I'm sure Manning would be OK with that.
Aside from the semi-homey feeling for the coaches (who were booted out before last season, so maybe not), this matchup is likely to be high intensity.
Remember last year's preseason contest in Denver? Manning was sacked on the first drive and then was intercepted after a misread by Emmanuel Sanders. But then No. 18 connected with Sanders in the second quarter for a 67-yard touchdown and also got his first-ever taunting penalty over a few words exchanged with D.J. Swearinger. It was a fun game.
For the entertainment factor alone, this game has "awesome" all over it. But for other real reasons, it will be the second great test for our offensive line. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Gary Kubiak's offense - particularly the Big Uglies - responds to the onslaught from Watt and Co.
I'm betting much better than last year.
San Francisco 49ers - This is no sea-level game:
There are two big reasons I'm going to really look forward to this game - Cody. Latimer.
OK, so that's one reason (but two words). But the way Latimer nailed Antoine Bethea in last year's preseason game was so impressive, I'm counting it as two.
In this Mile High preseason home opener, I'm hoping to see a lot of production from Latimer. By the third preseason contest, starters stay in most of the first half, and I'm expecting Latimer to have some solid connections with good ol' Rocky Top.
And of course, this team will be an excellent test for the new 3-4 defense as it attempts to contain Colin Kaepernick's happy feet. As for the Niners' declining defensive stature, this game better show our offense firing on several cylinders at this point in the preseason.
Arizona Cardinals - Home Sweet Home:
Ranked as the ninth-best overall defense last year and the fourth-best pass defense, the Cardinals will no doubt give Denver's offense fits again ... even at home.
And if Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer is fully recovered from his ACL surgery last year, his powerful arm will definitely stretch our defenders and provide Broncos plenty of opportunity to see where they stand in the safety position.
Regular season predictions
Ha! Just kidding.
I'm not predicting any W-L records until I'm forced to via staff posts, but I have been inspired to translate my non-stat-related predictions into poetic prose.
Well, more like, into something silly that occasionally rhymes:
First the very simple acrostic:
Chris harris jr
And my all-time favorite - the limerick:
Thank you Elway and the Broncos brass,
Unlike the Patriots, we have some class.
Gary Kubiak is our man,
Bringing to Denver a new game plan.
And the Seattle Seahawks can kiss my ass!
Followed by the cinquain (2-4-6-8-2):
And what poetry collection wouldn't have Haiku or a 'Roses are Red' adaptation? (thanks, Scotty Payne!)
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T.J. Ward (@BossWard43) April 10, 2015
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