Saturday, July 19, 2008

2008 Game by Game Preview: Week 7 New England, Week 8 Bye Week

With the NFL Preseason weeks away we here at Broncos Denver Broncos will be previewing the entire season ahead, two games at a time. This is all in fun, but in reality it will be our best effort at predicting how the 2008 season will actually shape up for the Broncos. It should be fun to look back in January or February and laugh...

So here goes any credibility that we have, hope that you enjoy and feel free to add, subtract or crack my orange tinted glasses in half. Just do it in the comment section:

Week 7 (Mon. October 20th, 2008)
at New England.

some facts: Denver and New England are tied for 2nd in the NFL for Super Bowl berths, with 6. Denver was the 6th team in the NFL to go to back to back Super Bowls, New England was the 7th. Denver was the only AFC team to do it in two decades, until New England joined them. Patriot's coach Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan are the only active coaches to have won two Super Bowls and are members of an elite fraternity (12 coaches) to have ever won two Super Bowls. Since 1995 (under Shanahan) Denver is third (130-78-0) for most wins in the NFL, New England is first (135-73-0). In that same time span Denver is third in the NFL for points scored (5,079), while New England is fourth (4,883). Shanahan is 8-3 against the Patriots as a head coach, 4-2 at home and 4-1 at Foxborough. In the 2003-2004 seasons New England surpassed Denver's record of most wins in a two-year span (33), setting it at 34. Champ Bailey had one of the most dramatic interceptions in NFL Playoff history picking off New England's Tom Brady in the end-zone on January 14th, 2006, setting an NFL record for longest interception return not for a touchdown. Bailey's career was foreshadowed when he picked off former New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe in his first preseason game, returning it 46 yards for a touchdown. In 2005's regular season corner back Domonique Foxworth had 10 total tackles against New England (the second highest in his career). Denver tight end Daniel Graham was drafted by New England in the first round in 2002. Both safeties John Lynch and Marlon McCree's last interceptions took place against New England. McCree's best game in 2007 was played against New England (10 total tackles, 6 solo).

They're going to 'murdah' me for this one, but it is undeniable that Shanahan has owned the Patriots, whether it be in Denver or Foxborough. Actually the Patriots would probably be better off if this game were in Denver. Last year, as stupid as it sounded, the Patriots were lucky that they didn't have to play against Denver, with the way that teams were playing every game against them as if it were the Super Bowl (see the game vs. the Ravens or any game following week 7).

New England has the least difficult strength of schedule of anybody in the NFL (go figure) and partly because they're playing the AFC West. This is also likely the most difficult game that Denver will have all season, given the respect for the opponent coupled with the fact that the game is on Monday Night Football, the team should shine. That as well as the fact that the team has nothing to look forward to the next week except a well deserved break, following the most difficult stretch of their season.

Expect many players to step up in this game that haven't been necessarily heard from before. As always when Denver plays New England, fans will see formations on both sides of the ball that they haven't seen all season. Look at how great some of these match-ups will be, Champ Bailey vs. Randy Moss, Ryan Clady vs. Richard Seymour/Mike Vrabel, Tom Brady vs. Denver's Secondary, Boss Bailey vs. Ben Watson, Daniel Graham/Tony Schefler vs. Tedy Bruschi/Victor Hobson, Dre Bly vs. Wes Welker, et cetera...

New England for whatever reason, seems to never be able to defend against the safety blitz, when it comes to Denver (or even certain other AFC West teams). Denver had extreme trouble competing with teams that played the 3-4/5-2, the good news is this season, by this game, they will have already faced two of the best 3-4/5-2 defenses the NFL has to offer in Jacksonville and San Diego. So the Broncos offensive line will hopefully be ready for whatever it is that New England has to throw at them.

The scary part is on defense for the Broncos. Do they have what it takes to defend a full-on Brady attack? I think that they do, even with the likely emergence of Chad Jackson and Jabar Gaffney the talent in the secondary in Denver is going to be too much for anyone this season. Couple that with the fact that Brady will be avoiding joint rushes from Marlon McCree and John Lynch the whole game.

In the end, this will be the definitive game that makes the rest of the NFL take a look back and say, "Huh? These guys are really that good," and I'm looking forward to it. Got my tickets to Gillette Stadium already.

Denver emerges from Week 7, victorious 6-1, as they head into a perfectly timed Bye Week.

Week 8 (Sun. October 26th, 2008)
Bye Week.

Denver comes off the most difficult part of their entire schedule with a much deserved one-week vacation. Back to Denver to prepare for Miami and lick their wounds, in the upcoming weeks they face Miami, Cleveland (in Cleveland) and Atlanta (in Atlanta).

Denver is 6-1 with their sights set on Miami.

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