It may seem cocky, but Denver Broncos fans should be confident their team will win Sunday.
And not just Sunday, but win the whole thing.
As in, the Super Bowl.
As Denver has proven all season long, if they play their game, they are unbeatable.
The Broncos’ gameplan – score on every offensive possession and hope to get some stops here and there – worked to the tune of 13 wins in the regular season; it’s how they need to play again Sunday.
We saw that awe-inspiring offense most recently against the Oakland Raiders in Week 17.
While Peyton Manning only played the first half, the Broncos scored on all five of their possessions to start the game. Four passing touchdowns from Manning to three different receivers and a 34-yard field goal make by Matt Prater gave Denver the unsurmountable 31-0 halftime lead.
And as Manning spread the ball out to various receivers, he also threw touchdowns on a variety of patterns. The first was a pivot route to Eric Decker. The second, a short shovel to Knowshon Moreno, which the running back trotted into the end zone. Manning’s third scoring toss was a beautifully thrown 63-yard bomb up the seam of the field to Demaryius Thomas and the final one was again to Thomas on a five-yard out.
Offenses – teams in general – are more successful when they play with that element of surprise. The Broncos’ offense, with their many playmakers, is unstoppable when everything comes together in harmony.
Demaryius Thomas’ speed is undeniable and when Manning gets the ball to him on short routes, he refuses to go down on first contact, becoming one of the most difficult players to tackle in the league. Decker is a very strong No. 2 receiver, improving as the season’s gone on, seeing drops become a thing of the past. Moreno is the dual-threat man, rushing for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns while receiving for over 500 yards as well.
The biggest surprise has been tight end Julius Thomas, who’s exploded onto the scene as a threat to catch it up the seam or outside and turn the ball upfield for a long score, as he did against the Chargers in Week 10.
In fact, lost in the offensive awesomeness is the fact that Denver’s defense performed at a high level, too, in the regular season finale. They limited Terrelle Pryor to 6-11 passing for a mere 35 yards through the air in that first half and running was Oakland’s only option, which wasn’t easy either.
The Rai-duhs first half drives ended like this: punt, fumble, punt, punt, punt, half.
Simply, the Raiders offense was repulsive and some of the credit has to go to the Broncos D.
Now, that defense needs to play at their best again, this time against a Chargers offense that will try to run the ball down their throat.
It’s how they beat the Broncos in Week 15, by handing the ball off to Ryan Matthews for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Even if Matthews – along with Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown – is able to run over Denver again, the Broncos can still win by capitalizing on their offensive possessions by scoring touchdowns.
The Chargers want a lower-scoring, grind-it-out battle, the Broncos want a barn-burner because they know no team can keep up.
And the x-factor this week will be a now-healthy Wes Welker. Welker – the greatest slot receiver in the history of the game – was held out of the Week 15 Chargers win over the Broncos in the Mile High City and Denver’s O struggled because of it. Welker is a valuable third down receiver and he’s the best in the game at finding open space; don’t be surprised if he catches a touchdown.
Also important this week will be the running game, which is needed to set up play-action passes as well as create some semblance of balance. In the Week 15 loss to San Diego, Denver ran for a season-low 18 yards, which just won’t cut it this Sunday.
Moreno found his way on the Sports Illustrated cover this week; he’ll likely try extra hard to dispel rumors of the SI cover jinx.
So, will the Broncos win their Divisional round playoff game against the Chargers this Sunday?
As long as Denver doesn’t beat themselves – by turning the ball over or going through long stretches of ineffectiveness with multiple three-and-outs – it will be smooth sailing over San Diego.
Like this? Click here for our top 5 Broncos Divisional round games.