Category Archives: Broncos

Season Preview AFC West

As long as the touchdown machine that is Peyton Manning is in Denver, the Broncos will be the favorites in the AFC West. The division that was one of the weakest in the league, had three playoff representatives in 2014. The Broncos eliminated San Diego in the divisional round on their way to the Super Bowl. The Broncos received a 12th man sized beat down from the Seattle Seahawks losing 43-8. The Chiefs playoff loss was almost as embarrassing, as the Colts overcame a 28 point deficit and beat them. Despite their playoff failures, three playoff teams makes an impressive division. Will the division look so favorably in 2014?

The Broncos will be fine. They did lose some key players like Erick Decker and Knowshon Mareno, But Cody Latimer was drafted to fill Decker’s role. Losing Wesley Woodyard and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a bit of a blow. The Broncos however invested heavily in the defense signing Demarcus Ware, TJ Ward and Aqib Talib. With more star power on the defense & Peyton Manning under center the Broncos will once again be contenders.

The biggest threat to Denver would be the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers went 9-7 last season but came alive in the second half of the season. With an impressive playoff win in Cincinnati, they proved they were building something under new coach, Mike McCoy.

Phillip Rivers seemed revived in 2013. The Chargers had a great draft, filling needs. The defense found a starting cornerback in Jason Verrett and a pass rusher in Jeremiah Attaoucho. Things seem to be pointing up in San Diego but they have to get past the Broncos. Only time will tell if they took enough steps to do so.

Kansas City is an interesting team. Last season, under new head coach Andy Reid they got off to a 9-0 start. They finished 2013 with an 11-5 record losing 5 of their last seven games. Many people bashed me for not buying into the Chiefs hot start. I simply was not impressed because they had a powderpuff schedule. The tough games against Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis were all after their week 10 bye week. They lost these tough games.

This however is a season preview, not a recap of the previous year. The Chiefs have failed to improve themselves dramatically this offseason. They signed a handful of serviceable free agents but made no big splash. They had a rather mediocre draft. Dee Ford is a good outside linebacker, but he is more of a future oriented pick. The Chiefs failed to get a receiver opposite of Dwayne Bowe. Kansas City is essentially what they were last season: a decent team that may bully lesser competition but does not get a seat at the big boy table. I see the Chiefs taking a slight step backwards in 2014. I don’t think this is a playoff team.

The Oakland Raiders will be an interesting team to watch. They drafted Derrick Carr to be their franchise quarterback. With a looks shot Matt Schuab in Oakland, we may get to see Carr a lot in his rookie season. James Jones was a big signing for Oakland, as they stole one of Aaron Rodgers favorite receivers. The Raiders defense should be improved with notable free agent signings in Lamar Woodley and Justin Tuck. Khalil Mack should be an instant difference maker in his rookie season at outside linebacker. Oakland is headed in the right direction, a sentence I never expected to type. They will be competitive, but its hard to see them making real noise.

Draft Grades AFC West

-Chris Schisler

Denver Broncos: A-

In round one Denver selected Bradley Robey, the cornerback from Ohio State. Robey is a boom or bust player; it seems life the perfect fit under Jack Del Rio’s defensive tutelage. In round two Peyton Manning got another weapon; the Broncos drafted Cody Latimer a budding star wide receiver. The Broncos drafted entirely for need. The only suspect pick would be offensive tackle Michael Schofield, but it is by no means a tragic error. Lamin Barrow in the fourth round is a linebacker that really impressed me as I watched the LSU Tigers. He is a big bruising backer who takes good pursuit angles to the football. Denver impressed me in this draft. Where some teams made decisions that just made me angry, the Broncos just had some preference differences. I respect the work John Elway and company did.

San Diego Chargers: A+

The Chargers struck lightning in this draft. Getting Jason Verrett, the corner from TCU was a great value at 25. The Chargers drafted one of my favorite prospects in the second round, in Jeremiah Attaoucho. Attaoucho is a fierce linebacker who plays with such an instinctive football quickness. His on the field pursuit of the quarterback and ball carriers is quicker than his measurables suggest. I thought San Diego found a couple of diamonds in the rough, drafting Marion Grice (RB ASU) and Tevin Reese (WR Baylor) in the 6th and 7th rounds.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

The Chiefs drafted outside linebacker Dee Ford with the 23rd overall selection. This was a great pick for the future as it will be hard financially to keep both of their pass rushers. Aaron Murray in the 5th round was an absolute steal. Give him a year or two to develop, and I think he will dazzle.
None of their other picks excite me, yet they did a decent job.

Oakland Raiders: B

I really like the draft that the Raiders had. If I had a different view of their second round QB, Derrick Carr, I would probably love it. Khalil Mack is a top 5 talent. I really like the guard they drafted; Gabe Jackson is a big physical run blocker. Keith McGill is a perfect value where they got him in the fourth round.

Lopsided Super Bowl

The Seattle Seahawks are world champions after laying a world class beat down on the Denver Broncos. Seattle could do no wrong and won with the shocking score of 43-8. A lot if people picked Seattle but very few thought it would be a blowout.

At halftime the Seahawks were up 22-0. I was not sold the game was over. Denver had a future hall of famer under center and many weapons. I was convinced that Peyton Manning would heat up and at least make it a game. Seattle could care less how great the Broncos were. When Percy Harvin’s TD opening kick return was recorded; it was clear that Seattle would show no mercy.

This was the Super Bowl that was not so Super. It was a one sided affair. The commercials were stale. To be fair the halftime show was better than some in recent memory, and at least the power stayed on. I just can’t help but feel robbed of football’s finest day.

A blowout in the Super Bowl used to be common. The last real blow out was in Super Bowl 37, when the Buccaneers spanked the Raiders. We have been spoiled by great game after great game.

Seattle played magnificently. They played so well that the one sided game took until the second half to become unexciting. Seattle earned it fair and square. Seahawks fans got their money’s worth. I was glad to see Seattle win but I was disappointed in the lack of drama in the game.

How Denver can Comeback

I could care less about Bruno Mars and this ridiculous halftime show. Let’s talk about the second half of this football. Peyton Manning is the sheriff. Don’t count him out until it is literally over.
I’m not saying that it will happen, or that it’s even likely. But it could happen. Denver is too good to crumble this easy.

The Broncos are moving the ball well. They just are not scoring and to make matters worse they are turning the ball over.

They need to get their running game going. It sounds counterintuitive down 22. But there is no threat of the run. The Seahawks front seven is ready to stop Peyton. The defensive line is getting in the passing lanes and making Peyton adjust his release point. The man coverage is killing the Broncos. Though they need to keep going to the back shoulder throws.

Getting the run game going will give the Seahawks something to think about and may open up the passing game. We know the Broncos can play some ground it football. Running formations will give more protection for Manning.
This will also bring some credibility to the play-action. But Jacob Tamme is the biggest reason to bring in another tight end. Tamme is the last guy Seattle expects to kill him. Tamme is a good receiver and has a chemistry with Peyton going back to their Indianapolis days. Two tight end sets could be huge for Denver.

Defensively they Broncos need to keep stopping the run. Win on 1st down, get Wilson in 3rd and long, keep him in the pocket. It’s not rocket science but is easier said than done.

The point is this game is not over. The point is that it’s Peyton. Make adjustments and act as if it is a brand new ball game. Do your job and as Bill Walsh said “The score will take care of it self.”

Does the Super Bowl Favor Great Offense or Great Defense

We are a day away from the Super Bowl. The two week build up to the big game is almost complete. This year we have a meeting of a great offense (Denver) and a great defense (Seattle). The question is which does the Super Bowl favor, great offense or great defense.

In the early 2000’s the answer was great defense. The Giants great offense was dominated in Super Bowl 35 by the Ravens legendary defense. Super Bowl 36 saw St. Louis’s “Greatest Show on Turf” stifled by the Patriots dominant defense. Super Bowl 37 was won by the Buccaneers bone crushing defenders and it was not even close. The Patriots won the next two Lombardi trophies. While Brady had emerged as a great quarterback, New England still had a dominating defensive unit. Pittsburgh would win Super Bowl 40 and Super Bowl 43. The Steelers were a pretty balanced team in both championship seasons. That said we know they prided themselves on their defense.

Things seemed to be changing when the Indianapolis Colts won it all in the 2006-2007 season.The Colts were a great offensive team that beat Lovie Smith’s great defense. The Colts defense was far from great but it had just enough pieces to be successful. Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeny provided great pass rush; this made life difficult for teams that had to pass to keep up with Manning. Safety Bob Sanders was a dominating presence in the Colts secondary. An offensive centered team won the Super Bowl; but defense still had a strong presence in the big game.

The Patriots entered Super Bowl 42 with a historic undefeated record and a record breaking offense. The Giants entered the game on a roll after barely sneaking into the playoffs. New York’s defense frustrated New England’s offense. An offense that was used to getting what it wanted with relative ease was stifled. The Giants defensive line dominated the game. Eli Manning provided the late game dramatics with the winning score to Plaxico Burress. The Giants beat one of the greatest offenses of all time in the Super Bowl. This supported the Idea that defense wins championships.

Super Bowl 44 and 45 were won by teams with great offenses. In Super Bowl 44 we watched two great offenses as Drew Brees and the Saints beat Peyton Manning’s Colts. This Super Bowl will always be remembered by Sean Peyton’s rewarding gamble to start the 2nd half with an onside kick. It will also be remembered by Peyton Manning’s pick 6 that cost Indianapolis the game.

Super Bowl 45 was a shootout between Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. While the Steelers had a good defense it was not what it once was. Rodgers carved up the Steelers and stepped out of Brett Favre’s shadow. One of the most pivotal plays was when Cullen Jenkins busted up a run play, leading to a Clay Matthews fumble recovery. Are you noticing a trend?

Super Bowl 46 was a rematch of the Patriots and Giants. Oddly the game was almost entirely like their Super Bowl 42 meeting. The Giants defensive line was dominant. It was a tough game that Brady almost won; the problem was Eli got the last chance. Defense prevailed over an offensive juggernaut once again.

The Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl 47 on one of the best days of my life. I had waited 12 years for another Super Bowl parade in Baltimore. I was only 10 and just beginning to obsess over football when we won Super Bowl 35. The 2012 Ravens did not have the dominating defense I grew up watching. The Ravens got to the Super Bowl on the throwing arm of Joe Flacco.

The Ravens defense almost gave up what seemed like an insurmountable lead. That however is when the magical unscriptable and fitting ending happened. Ray Lewis’s iconic career ended with a goal line stand in the Super Bowl. The Ravens built their lead on offense and won the game (the hard way) on defense.

In the Super Bowl you will always have two great football teams. The Super Bowl almost always has two evenly matched teams- which is shown by the close games we have been treated to. I would argue that a Super Bowl championship is won and lost with defense. It comes down to who can make the game changing turnover or defensive stand. Even in Super Bowls featuring two great offensive teams, the game has come down to defensive heroics. As we approach Super Bowl 48, let me remind you that defense wins championships.

Comparing Super Bowl Teams

The best team does not always win the Super Bowl. A prime example of this is when the New York Giants defeated the undefeated New England Patriots in the 2007 season. The Lombardi trophy goes to the best team on Super Sunday. This is fair; after all just getting to the Super Bowl demands a perfect postseason run. On Sunday we will see who brought the better game with them to New Jersey; but who is the better team. Lets break it down by position.

QB: Broncos

With all due respect to Russell Wilson this one is not even close. Peyton Manning is a legend having his most impressive season. Russell Wilson has shown a ton of skill and poise in his young career but he is not on Manning’s level.

RB: Seahawks

This is rather easy to explain. Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch is exactly what his nickname suggests. Moreno is a serviceable running back. But Marshawn Lynch is a very crucial part of the Seahawks offense. Everything starts with the run game for Seattle.

TE: Broncos

While I love what Zach Miller brings to the table, it does not match what the Broncos tight ends. Julius Thomas is a match up nightmare. Jacob Tamme is a very reliable number two TE.

WR: Broncos

Demaryous Thomas, Erick Decker and Wes Welker… enough said. The Broncos have the best receiver group in football.

Offensive Line: Seahawks

When a team dominates on the ground much of their success is attributed to the offensive line. Seattle has a great run game. Every thing starts up front with the Seahawks, who strive to be the most physical team.

Defensive Line: Seahawks

The Seahawks are great at stopping the run and create tons of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Brandon Mebane, Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril will make life difficult for Denver’s line.

Linebackers Seahawks

Bobby Wagner leads one of the best linebacking groups in the NFL. Seattle does not blitz much but when they do they get to the quarterback. They are dominant against the run and swallow up underneath routes.

Secondary: Seahawks

Richard Sherman is the best corner in football and he won’t hesitate to tell you. Earl Thomas is as hard hitting a free safety as I’ve ever seen. This secondary is the Seahawks greatest strength.

Coach: Tie

John Fox and Pete Carroll are two experienced coaches who get it. Their players love to play for them. Both coaches are looking for their first Super Bowl ring. I have equal respect for both of them.

If you put a gun to my head and demanded I told you who the best team was I would chose Seattle. They are a great team all the way around. The Broncos have a great offense but I think Seattle is better overall. These teams have such contrasting styles it makes the game very intriguing.
Prediction: Seahawks win 27-24

3 Huge Factors for The Big Game

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are set to do battle in the 48th edition of the Super Bowl. The winner will be champions of the football world, the loser will cope with the bitterest defeat. By now everyone has broken down the matchup so much that Super Bowl coverage has largely become white noise. Here at Common Sense Football we want to bring attention to some major factors that could help decide the 2013-2014 NFL champions.

1.) How They Call The Game

The Broncos high octane passing attack and the Seahawks dominating secondary is the biggest match up in this game. The way the game is called by the officials will have a huge impact on the game. The Seahawks corners are very physical and play lots of tight man coverage. If the officials are very strict and call ticky-tack pass interference and holding penalties it will negate Seattle’s biggest strength. If the refs let them play and are more reserved with the flags it should be a fair and compelling battle in the secondary. These pass interference penalties are subjective. The most important thing is that the game is called consistently.

2.) Red Zone Scoring:

The Seahawks will slow Denver down dramatically but there is no stopping Peyton Manning. Seattle needs to be able to keep up with Denver’s historically high scoring offense. Touchdowns are the only way to do this. Seattle kept Drew Brees’s Saints around, in the divisional round, by settling for field goals. They got away with it against the Saints but won’t get past the Broncos with field goals.

3.) Weather

Weather is going to be a factor because it is in New Jersey. I kind of think the conditions have been overblown. It will be cold and windy but last time I checked Denver and Seattle are cold and windy often. Peyton Manning has struggled in severe cold; but we’re expecting temperatures in the 30s. Peyton will be fine.

Logic would say that in the case of snow Seattle would have the advantage. The Broncos need to throw the ball for big numbers to succeed, while the Seahawks build off their running game. Earlier this season we saw that snow can actually help the passing game. The Ravens and Vikings played a game in heavy snow, and pass rushers struggled. They could not change directions and struggled to maintain their footing. Snow may not be a drastic disadvantage for Denver.

The weather is a factor but it is one that both teams have to deal with. It is also something that neither team can control. Wind however could be a great advantage for Seattle because it makes it harder to throw the ball.

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