After 5 games, our Broncos sit with a 3-2 record and well within playoff contention. But this team is so up and down, I can’t figure them out.
You could convince me this team could go on a run of wins and carry the momentum into the playoffs. We’ve shown great potential in our victories with the dominating win against the Cowboys being the epitome of that. That was the most complete performance I’ve seen from Denver in recent memory. But on the other hand, you could just as easily also convince me this team’s record could nose dive. The loss to the Giants was horrible, absolutely horrible. The last time we played that bad at home, the lowly Raiders of 2010 put 59 points on us.
Considering our upcoming schedule and the timing of the bye week, that loss really came at a bad time. Coming out of our bye we should be refreshed and hungry, but it looked like they couldn’t switch back on. During my time following the team, the Broncos have almost always won coming out of the bye. In fact, since the bye week was implemented in the NFL – following the bye week, the Broncos boast a 30-12-0 record. If you remember we also lost after our bye last season. Hopefully in the Broncos’ post Peyton Manning era aren’t losing focus during some down time. As the bye week is critical for teams. Lingering injuries tend to pile up on players as the season wears on. With that in mind, having an early bye week in the season certainly doesn’t work out well for us especially when we just suffered a couple of injuries. Sanders, McKenzie and Watson have already been ruled out Sunday vs the Chargers. Whilst I don’t wish any ill health on any player, Menelik Watson being out the line-up might be a good thing considering how disappointing he’s played so far. Siemian got hurt too but according to several sources, he looks like he will be good to go after his MRI came back negative. So the injuries are starting to pile up, we have no bye week and we have a brutal stretch of games approaching. The loss to the Giants is hurting in more ways than one.
I think some of the reaction from Broncos fans has been somewhat knee jerk. It’s still early in the season and I’ve seen the Broncos play very poor in December only to go onto winning the Super Bowl. But I got to admit, looking ahead there is some worry that’s justified. Some of us thought Buffalo was perhaps just a blip. But along with Siemian’s inconsistent play, there appears to be some new issues to worry about. Issues that were a concern from last season but seemingly looked like a strength for 2017. It was like the 2016 Broncos had returned. We got beat up in the trenches against the Giants. We’ve ran well up until now, but could only muster 36 yards on the ground between CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles. Asking Trevor Siemian to throw the ball 50 times will never equate to a Broncos win. On the other side of the ball, the Giants racked up 147 rushing yards. Before the Giants loss, our defense was only giving up an average of 44 yards per game. Also, what’s the deal with Brandon McManus? Since signing his new contract, he seems to reverted back to the old McManus. When he first signed with Denver, he was very inconsistent however last off-season he mentioned he changed his technique and the change clearly worked and has averaged approx. 85% scoring on his field goal attempts. Some even calling him Mr Reliable. Fast forward to 2017, new contract and all and McManus has only made 8 field goals from 13 attempts. Luckily one of his misses haven’t cost us a game yet, but I’m certainly going to feel un-easy if it’s a late in a tight game and we’re needing McManus to win it for us.
I’m sure most of us are feeling a little anxious on how we respond to this disappointing defeat. Especially looking at our upcoming schedule. The next three games are on the road with our next home game being against the Patriots. This stretch starts Sunday at the Chargers. Then we travel to face the impressive Philadelphia Eagles and finish the 3 game road stretch with a massive division game at Arrowhead against the Chiefs. If we had to have a 3 game stretch on the road, I’m glad LA would be one of the venues as the stadium is almost a sea of orange when the Chargers host the Broncos. So whilst we may have somewhat of a home field advantage on the road this Sunday, the Chargers always play us hard. And don’t forget, they’re coming off a two game win streak who will likely see us a good chance to get their first home win of the season. The Giants got the monkey off their back playing us, the same Giants team the Chargers defeated the week before. Considering we dropped a very winnable game at home and the upcoming schedule, I believe this Chargers game is almost a must win. It’s a divisional game and another loss would really put us in a hole. To get back to winning ways, we need to start winning in the trenches again. It opens up everything, especially on offense. Trevor Siemian really does need the support cast around him to be performing to propel us to victory.
After this upcoming four game stretch, I suspect we will find out just who the 2017 Denver Broncos are. Are they playoff contenders or pretenders. We will find out soon enough.