Know Your Enemy: Denver Broncos, Week 14

Week 14 has the potential to be a double gut punch for the Titans, if watching that fourth preseason game last night masquerading as an NFL contest between two teams who have defeated the Titans wasn’t enough. Last offseason, at Bud Adams’ bequest, the Titans made a major push to get Peyton Manning and failed to lure him back to the state where he became an icon. Now, Peyton’s on the Denver Broncos (if only the Titans had promised to switch to orange jerseys) and the squad is on pace to be the NFL’s #1 seed. The Titans are on pace to finish almost exactly at last year’s 6-10 conclusion.

I brought in Eric Dickens, kind of the consigliere of Dynasty League Football.

How did Knowshon Moreno go from a guy who was inactive on game days to being a team leader in less than a year? I’ll be honest, I completely missed on this. He has looked like a completely different runner this year, both physically by adding some bulk to his frame, and stylistically by showing confidence he hadn’t previously shown. He used to hesitate and have “happy feet” but I haven’t seen that from him this season. He’s made a huge difference in the pass-blocking game as well, which gives him instant value in a Peyton-offense. I was skeptical at first, but he’s won me over. I hope they can figure out a way to bring him back next season.

Are you excited about Decker and Thomas matching up against the Titans’ CBs who haven’t given up a TD to a WR since week 2? (yeah, I think that streak’s going to end) Regardless of how good the Titans’ CB’s have played to this point, they also haven’t played against a pair of receivers (not to mention Welker in the slot & Julius Thomas up the seam) with this kind of talent. The thing I’m most impressed with Manning year after year is his consistency in exploiting other team’s weaknesses. It could be a very big game for Wes Welker if the corners lock down the outside.

If Peyton signed with the Titans instead of the Broncos, would Tim Tebow still be their QB? No! Next question…seriously though, I don’t think there’s any chance of that. John Fox isn’t the type of coach to adapt that much to a player, much less run an offense that isn’t sustainable long term. While I think Tebow made the best out of what he had, I was relieved when the Broncos entered the Manning sweepstakes because it meant they were moving on.

Is Champ Bailey officially done? Can the secondary function without Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? I don’t think Champ is done, but he definitely needs to be 100% before they run him out there again. He isn’t the guy he was a few years ago, but can still be a shutdown corner if he’s not covering a speed guy one-on-one. As for the secondary minus DRC, the short answer is no. They are going to really struggle without him in there.

I’ll say “if” the Broncos lose again in the playoffs, will you be tempted to take a slow walk into the ocean? It feels like there hasn’t been more of a Super Bowl or Bust team in recent history. Absolutely. You might never see another tweet from me if that happens this year. Last year’s Ravens game was excruciating and I don’t think I have the strength to go through that again. [Zach note: We have something in common, having our hearts ripped out by the Ravens.]

What are some of your favorite memories of watching the team, assuming they existed pre-Peyton. I grew up in Kansas City and my dad was a big Chiefs’ fan, so naturally I loved the Broncos from the start (the “start” for me was the 1984 season, which would have made me 4 years old). Some of my favorite memories were Steve Atwater’s hit on Christian Okoye during the 1990 season, The Drive, scoring 14 points in 1 minute, 37 seconds in a thrilling 20-19 win over the Chiefs in 1992, Clinton Portis busting out the WWE championship belt after scoring 5 TD’s at Arrowhead (I was about 40 rows up behind the Denver bench for that one), and of course, the back-to-back Super Bowl wins in the late 90’s. [Zach note: Dang. I was in KC from 1989-1992. We may have crossed paths.]

What’s your thoughts on the final score/result? Seeing how the Titans have only scored more than 30 points in a game once this season, and the Broncos have only scored less than 30 twice, I’ll go Broncos 38, Titans 24.

As a beer draft veteran, what are you drinking lately and what will be on tap for this game? I’m a big fan of Belgian ales, so I’ve been trying a few new ones lately…some of my latest favorites are Cigar City’s Florida Cracker, Leffe Blonde, and Namaste from Dogfish Head. I’ll probably be finishing off the Leffe in my fridge this weekend.

Feel free to plug away. What the heck are you up to? Are you still in school? I’m currently doing the twitter thang (@DLFootball) for, successfully GM’ing several dynasty teams through the playoffs (while running several others into the ground in hopes of acquiring Sammy Watkins), while going to school online to complete a long-awaited degree. In my spare time, you can find me at the beach with the family.

Thanks, Eric, and now I have one reason to root for Broncos success. Wait a sec, you won back-to-back Super Bowls less than 20 years ago. Never mind.

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