Good morning, Broncos Country!
Domata Peko will feel right at home Sunday when the Broncos descend upon Paul Brown Stadium to take on the Bengals and hopefully improve their winning streak to three.
But it will be a little bittersweet.
Peko, who was drafted in 2006 by the Bengals in the fourth round, played with Cincy for 11 seasons before signing with the Broncos in 2017.
In his time with the Bengals, Peko was one of the leaders for a defense full of veterans, and after the 2016 season, the team opted to let their big man in the middle test free agency.
“I thought I’d retire there,” Peko told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com earlier this week. “That’s what I was thinking. In a perfect world that would have happened. But even Peyton Manning had to leave Indy. No disrespect to the Brown family or anyone in Cincinnati. They treated me great. That’s why I’m excited to get back to The Jungle.”
But the big man became a leader in Denver immediately and was embraced by the organization, his teammates and the fans - things he’s grateful for.
“Now I’m here, I thank God that I’m here and my teammates embrace me. They welcomed me with open arms here, and the organization has loved me, especially Broncos country, they’ve really got my back,” Peko said Friday. “I can’t wait to go to Cincinnati with my team, go up there and keep this rolling. We’re where we want to be and everything’s right in front of us. We’ve just got to keep winning.”
While both teams stand at 5-6, the Broncos are coming off a two-game win streak against top opponents, while the Bengals are coming off three losses in a row plus some tough injury news as their starting quarterback Andy Dalton was placed on IR with a thumb injury.
But the game is in Cincy, and the Bengals are also fighting for an outside playoff chance, so the game is not to be taken lightly (as the 2015 Broncos squad will tell you when it also faced a Cincy team with a backup QB).
But Peko doesn’t believe his Broncos squad will fall for a “trap game” this weekend.
“Because we have a lot of confidence right now. [Vance Joseph] said it best, ‘Everything’s in our hands. We’ve just got to go out there and get it done.’ We’re right in the hunt right now, playoffs are right there for us and we’ve just got to go out there and get this ‘W’,” Peko said. “It’d be a big win for us, and then next week as well. It’s all one game at a time, that’s what Coach is preaching to us—be 1-0 this week. Let’s be 1-0.”
Horse Tracks - docllv’s pick of the day
One wicked plane ride, 10 Super Bowl rings and another title game: Colorado’s football core collides at Mile High – The Athletic
There will be at least 10 Super Bowl rings on the sidelines Saturday between Dave Logan and Ed McCaffrey and their assistants when Cherry Creek plays Valor Christian in the high school title game.
Five Key Matchups: Broncos at Bengals
Von Miller trying to tack down Cincinnati starting quarterback Jeff Driskel is just one of several good matchups to watch on Sunday.
Bengals vs. Broncos: Analysis, odds, expert picks and predictions for NFL Week 13 - Cincy Jungle
The Bengals have fallen to the basement of the NFL according to how the oddsmakers and experts view this game.
Bengals' A.J. Green (toe) not listed on injury report - NFL.com
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, who has missed the last three games with a toe injury, was not listed on Friday's final injury report, signaling he should play Sunday against the Broncos.
Bengals' Joe Mixon: 'Give it 100 percent or stay home' - NFL.com
Nearing the end of an injury riddled season in Cincinnati, second-year running back Joe Mixon isn't ready to give up the hunger to compete no matter how bleak things look for the Bengals in 2018.
Broncos promote OLB Jeff Holland, waive ILB Alexander Johnson
The Broncos made the move Friday to bolster their pass rush.
What do the 2018 stats tell us about the future of this year’s rookie QB starters picked in the top 10? – The Athletic
What the early data can tell us about the NFL future of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.
NFL News: Free agent OT Andre Smith is back with the Bengals - Cincy Jungle
The Bengals badly need offensive tackle helps, so Andre Smith makes sense on such short notice.
Chiefs’ release of Kareem Hunt to test league’s other 31 teams - NFL.com
The Chiefs moved quickly to release Kareem Hunt on Friday after a video surfaced of an incident involving him shoving and kicking a woman in February. Now comes a moral quandary for the league’s other 31 teams, Judy Battista writes.