Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Hey, it can happen.
And our UFGer this week is “Casual Observer” who is a casual observer no more now that he’s turned in a fantastic preview of the game every Broncos fan is looking forward to.
Yes, it will be a tall task to beat this Chiefs team. Yes, it will require the Broncos to play their best football of the season so far and then some. Yes, it will mean the Chiefs probably need to screw up a little bit and the Broncos will have to take advantage.
But as one of my favorites back in the day used to say, “that’s why they play the game.”
And it’s also why our UFG is predicting a BIG win today. You can’t get any more ultimate fan than that! Go Broncos!
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 25, 2020
Week 7: Broncos vs. Chiefs
MHR – Before we get to our opponent this week, what were your big takeaways from the win over the Patriots?
CasualObserver: My takeaways were that even though Lock’s numbers look bad I thought that he did a lot of good things. Leading the team to six scoring drives was a good sign in my eyes and if there weren’t some dropped passes, especially in the end zone, I think everyone would have been very excited about his performance. Second it was nice to see the defense hold up in the last drive and stop the P*triots from scoring.
MHR – Now to this week’s matchup…the Chiefs. Probably Denver’s hardest game (second only to the same matchup in Arrowhead), what would be your keys to beating the Chiefs, because as good as they are, they are beatable.
CasualObserver: First, as much as we can, we need to make them one-dimensional. And as strange as this is going to sound, even to me, I think we need to focus on taking away the run. If KC is forced to throw, I think we might be able to take advantage of some of their injuries in their offensive line and wide receiver groups and hopefully get some hits on Mahomes to try to get him off his game.
Second, our offense has to take another big step forward by finishing drives with TDs instead of field goals. Even if the defense is successful with the first key I don’t think we hold KC to less than 20 points, so field goals are not going to cut it.
Third, we need to play a clean game and eliminate penalties, especially the brain dead ones that give our opponents new life. We will need to be just about perfect if we want to pull off the upset.
MHR – A lot has been made over the past week about all the pressure and blitzing Vic Fangio dialed up against Cam Newton. WIll that work against the Chiefs too – because KC arguably has a more dangerous QB. Although both Cam Newton and Patrick Mahomes can escape from the pocket and pick up a bunch of yards, Mahomes has better accuracy and ability to also throw downfield after escaping pressure.
CasualObserver: I saw some blitz stats for Mahomes this week and they were impressive to say the least, so I don’t think a blitz heavy scheme would be effective. However, I think that Vic will do a lot of mixing of approaches to try to confuse Mahomes as much as he can. So I think that we will see some blitzes as part of that mixing, but they may be in different situations than you would expect in order to catch Mahomes and his OL by surprise.
MHR – This week A.J. Bouyé should be back in the lineup. How does this help the Broncos’ defense handle all of KC’s speedsters?
CasualObserver: This definitely helps, especially since Sammy Watkins is out this game. I believe that this is going to allow Vic to really create some good matchups and may even free up one of our safeties or cornerbacks to help cover Kelce.
MHR – Shelby Harris has been an absolute monster. And last week we saw continued solid play from Alexander Johnson while Malik Reed came in big on the line. What is the biggest strength of this defense and how can it be a major factor in preventing the Chiefs from rushing 200 yards behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell this week?
CasualObserver: I think right now our biggest strength is run defense. We are still missing some edge players (Von, Attaochu) and defensive linemen (Casey, etc.) that weaken our pass rush, although we are at least getting our defensive backs healthy. With that said, I think that we can hold Clyde and Le’Veon in check most of the game, although I won’t be surprised if they get one 20+ yard run at some point in the day. As long as we can keep them under 4 yards per carry, for the day I think we will be successful.
MHR – Fangio pointed out that the Chiefs’ offense is probably better this year than last year. Although it will take a Herculean effort to beat the Chiefs, do you think it comes down more to Broncos’ defense stopping the offense or Bronco’s offense being able to “keep up” with the Chiefs? And are either/both of those things even possible? 😉
CasualObserver: In the big scheme of things I believe that it will come down to the offense being able to “keep up” with the Chiefs. I fully believe that the defense is capable of keeping KC in check (and by that I mean holding them to around 25 points), if they don’t have to deal with a lot of three-and-outs or short fields. So the offense is going to have to at least score as many points as we did against the Jets, and if they don’t score some points early to help the defense then we will probably have to score substantially more than we did against the Jets. I really do believe that both of those things are possible and I have been feeling that we are going to win this game since even before the season started!
MHR – So, talking about the offense…I wrote this week about Lock spending time with Elway immediately after every game to talk about it. What do you think of Lock as a team leader, a quarterback in general and his likelihood of being a franchise player for this club?
CasualObserver: Everything I have seen and heard from him leads me to believe he will be a franchise player for the Broncos I am impressed with his desire to constantly improve and to take advantage of some of the unique opportunities that he has in Denver with the availability of both Elway and Manning (in my opinion the two best QBs to ever play the game). As far as I can tell his teammates (both offense and defense) really like and respect him. I believe that he is right on the cusp of being a top 10 QB in the league if he can just improve a bit more in a couple of areas and I believe it is possible for him to end up being a top 5 QB given his innate talent.
The only area that causes me any concern, and really it is pretty minor so far, is a perceived lack of durability given his two injuries the last two years. To me those injuries seem more like bad luck than a sign of fragility, but nevertheless, that could derail him if he continues missing games due to injury.
MHR – On Sunday, how much of a factor will the running game need to be, and will the Lindsay-Gordon duo get to be on full display for really the first time this season?
CasualObserver: I think the running game has to be a factor, in fact as I stated earlier I think that Denver is going to have to be just about perfect in this game to get the W. With a balanced attack that KC can’t predict we will be able to keep them back on their heels and get some time-consuming and morale-building drives that finish in the end zone! If the running game is not a factor, then we will not win this game and it may get ugly.
MHR – Noah Fant is expected to be back this weekend. What does having him in the lineup mean for the offense in terms of options and mixing it up for the Chiefs’ defense?
CasualObserver: Drools dreaming of Noah and Albert O. both running down the middle of the field wide open! Ummm…what was the question?
MHR – Earlier this week Fangio pointed out the talent of Chiefs’ safety Tyrann Mathieu. Tim Patrick has quietly put together two very good offensive games. Will he be able to get the best of Honey Badger this week? If Mathieu is on Jerry Jeudy, will Jeudy burn him?
CasualObserver: I’m not expecting either of those players to really get the best of Mathieu, although I think Jerry Jeudy would be the most likely to do so. What I am expecting is that the running game will be effective enough to allow us to use play action to make Mathieu hesitate just enough to open gaps and let the receivers be a little more open and provide us better opportunities for yards after the catch as well as providing us some high quality shots down the field.
MHR – The offensive line has been doing OK this season despite struggles from Dalton Risner and Lloyd Cushenberry. How important will this line be on Sunday for Drew Lock? Can they protect him long enough from a pretty stout defensive line and pass rushers?
CasualObserver: I think the line play is going to be huge for us. Last year KCs front 7 blew us up and we never had a shot because of it. Between the continual improvement I have seen in our line every week and the fact that Alex Okafor and Taco Charlton are out I think we have a great opportunity for our offensive line to shine and it will take a great effort from them (and everyone else) to get the W.
MHR – Name a player on offense and defense that has really stood out to you so far this season and why.
CasualObserver: On offense, Garett Bolles. He has really improved this year even with all of the challenges that 2020 has brought.
On defense, I would say Ojemudia. He was thrown into the deep end and after flailing about for a game or two has really responded well. With AJ getting healthy I think our cornerbacks are now a strength, and we will need all of them to perform at their best today!
Stats for Drew Lock? 20 of 30 for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns
Stats for each Broncos RB? Lindsay 16 carries for 80 yards; Gordon 14 carries for 60 yards and 1 touchdown plus 3 receptions for 20 yards; Freeman 4 carries for 17 yards and 1 reception for 6 yards.
Number of yards receiving/TDs for each Broncos’ receiver? Patrick 5 catches for 83 yards and 1 touchdown; Jeudy 4 catches for 60 yards; Cleveland 2 catches for 12 yards. Tight ends – Fant 3 catches for 45 yards and 1 touchdown; Okwuegbunam 2 catches for 15 yards and 1 touchdown.
Longest FG for McManus? 42 yards
Number of sacks to Lock? 2
Number of sacks to Mahomes? 4
Broncos player with the most tackles? Alexander Johnson, 8
Who gets the most sacks? Chubb 2
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 1/2/1
How many penalties will the refs get wrong? 1 but it will be in Denver’s favor!
Final Score? 36 – 27 GO BRONCOS!
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 25, 2020
Favorite Broncos game EVER? AFC Championship Game on January 1, 1978, I will never forget Tom Jackson and the performance from the entire Orange Crush in that game!
Team you hate to lose to the most? Raiders
Non AFC West team you hate to lose to the most? P*triots
Team you love to beat? Hmmm can I say two? Raiders/P*triots
Favorite time Broncos were the underdog and won? Super Bowl 50, although the 2012 playoff game against Pittsburgh is a close second.
Favorite game looking forward to this season? Today’s game!
Toughest game on the schedule? At KC later this year.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller
Favorite Broncos player of all time? So many to choose from, but if I have to pick one then John Elway!
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Ojemudia, I think he has the potential to be great.
Superstitions on game day? None, although if I am not feeling nervous before the game, bad things tend to happen.
Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Hmmm, that list is long, let’s just say Cris Collinsworth.
Favorite sports cliche? It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, alternatively pretty much any Yogi Berra sports quote.
Favorite sports movie? Dodgeball
Best sports GIF? I can’t pick one, there are too many I really like and it depends on the mood. Although for tomorrow:
How did you become a Broncos fan?
I can’t remember not being a Broncos fan, however, my complete loyalty was sealed during the 1977 season with the highlight being the Jan. 1, 1978, AFC Championship game. I have bled orange and blue ever since!