As the Denver Broncos have now landed in New Jersey, reality is setting in that the most important game in their careers will be taking place this Sunday at 4:30mtn. After landing, John Fox said that “At the end of the day, each one of these games gets bigger. Once you get into the playoff season and you get to what we call the second season, they get bigger every week. And this is the biggest of the biggest. We call it noise. You’ve got to be able to drown that out, still focus on your job and your preparation, and I think our guys have done an outstanding job.”
Avoiding that “noise,” here are a few technical aspects about the most important game the Broncos have had in 15 years.
1. Getting away from Seattle’s pass-rush
This is a no-brainer and is the most important aspect in this game. It’s the best offense against the best passing defense in the league. In the regular season, the Broncos averaged 340 yards a game with Peyton Manning’s record breaking season. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have been able to limit opponents to just 172 yards per game.
Containing the likes of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril isn’t an easy task.
2. Richard Sherman may be the “best corner in the game,” but he can’t cover the whole field
More than likely, Sherman will stick to Demaryius Thomas which will hopefully make room for Eric Decker, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker. Although the Seahawks have been able to limit opponents to 5.8 yards per pass, they haven’t been faced with the best passing attack in the league.
3. Be cautious
Peyton Manning’s uncanny ability to successfully thread the needle may prove more than risky against a team that leads the league in interceptions; Sherman has had eight interceptions alone. Needless to say, Manning knows what he is doing and will make smart decisions, which may include avoiding Sherman.
When talking about the Seattle running game, it’s impossible not to mention the name Marshawn Lynch. He has gained more than half of Seattle’s rushing yardage with 1,257 yards in the regular season and 12 touchdowns (next in line is quarterback Russell Wilson).
That being said, the Broncos biggest defensive strength is the ground game. During the regular season they have been able to limit opponents to an average of 101 yards per game (seventh in the league). In the postseason they have limited the Chargers and Patriots to an average of 64 yards.
That leads me to the next point, the Broncos have not faced an agile, running quarterback like Wilson. Considering him not only a passing threat like every other quarterback but a running back as well will be something that the Broncos need to adjust to. Denver’s front seven will have to be mindful of Wilson’s legs as well as his arm, or they’ll get burned.