Empower Stadium At Mile High
2:25 PM MT September 14th, 2019
Coverage: Fox (TBA)
CHI (0-1, 12-4 in 2018, 1st NFCW) DENVER (0-0, 5-11 in 2017, 4th AFCW)
Line: CHI -2.5, O/U 40.5 on 9/11
2018 DVOA: SEA (#5 overall - #20 on O; #1 on D; #9 on ST) DEN (#15 overall - #16 on O; #5 on D; #29 on ST)
DVOA Ranks: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2018/final-2018-dvoa-ratings
So @BullsandBroncos got his kick at the can, but with an L, time to start a new GDT...
Things to watch for:
1. Our OL vs. their front 7 - with RT Ju'wan James out several weeks with a MCL sprain...well, no bueno. Frankly, the only guy who won consistently was Risner (yay), but both our run game in the 1H, and our pass pro for the entire game, was just plain bad. We got some momentum in the 3Q with the run game, but the context was that OAK had been out for the last 10 plays of the 1H, and then 15 of the next 18 plays in the 3Q. So this is obv a more clear test of where our OL stands in the run game (and the preseason was pretty unspectacular when the 1st team was out there). Ron Leary really looked awful out there last week. The CHI front 7 isn't just Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith, they've got size, speed and depth. We will be really tested. And that matters because...
2. Flacco in getting reads / ball out - there's a belief that Flacco wasn't so bad. He wasn't the reason we lost - but he didn't get the ball out on time, or on location most throws. The location wasn't there leading the runner when they were in flat, or in the numbers when they were sitting down, or back shoulder when they were in a seam with a defender in front. I'll let @lomaxgrUK correct me when he looks at the All-22, but the lack of placement, and the long time in getting through reads, he won't have that luxury vs. the CHI front 7, and that attack secondary will pounce on late throws.
3. Our run D vs. the CHI OL - things aren't rosy on the CHI end, either. HC Nagy has taken a ton of heat for playing RB Mike Davis over their rookie RB David Montgomery, and IMO rightfully so - Montgomery has a TON of juice. If CHI is smart, they lean on Montgomery and the run game, as we had no answer for OAK's run game. This is a big mismatch. Holding our own here is crucial, because there's one area we have a potential advantage, it's...
4. Our pass rush harrassing QB Mitch Trubisky into making mistakes - GB's week 1 win on the road happened simply because the D put 8 in the box, and dared Trubisky to beat them. And he failed...miserably. Honestly, based on his week 1 performance, you'd make a case his UNC degree is a complete fraud - since Tru showed no ability to read whatsoever. Get some pressure, put him into 2nd/3rd and long, and let him make mistakes (sound familiar? Funny to be on the other end saying that after the last 3 years lol). CHJ should be able to neutralize Allen Robinson II, so the real Q becomes...
5. Their TE / WR2-3 & Tarik Cohen vs. Yiadom/Bausby/Jackson combo & our S/ILB's - sounds like Callahan's out a while - which really sucks, because Kareem Jackson was the only other guy who could cover anyone. Yiadom isn't a lost cause at all by any means - but expecting him to bounce back for week 2 is a huge stretch. Expect CB's De'Vante Bausby & Duke Dawson to get more playing time in practice, and then on Sunday in place of Yiadom all the time (Bausby had no snaps IIRC other than ST's, same with Dawson - understandable in Dawson's case, with team less than 1 week, but Bausby was a head-scratcher). Now, CHI was short-handed as their best WR outside of A-Rob, Anthony Miller (#17) was only out there for 22 percent of the snaps, after missing the preseason; and their top move TE, Trey Burton (#80), missed the game entirely. Both are practicing fully, so it seems like they'll be back - which is a huge plus for them, as they had guys named Braunhower, C-Patt & Taylor Gabriel being completely blanketed. Sadly, if Miller/Burton play, I expect they will exploit, this, along with Tarik Cohen as their Swiss-Army knife weapon vs. our ILB/safeties.
6. TO's and ST - we just have to be better in ST, and we have to win the TO battle, because CHI is simply a much better team than us on both sides of the ball.
7. Coaching has to be fearless - we can't have repeats of not using our 3 TO's in our 2-min drill while we are at midfield. We have to take some shots down the field to keep the D honest, it can't be in the 4Q (and that's what Flacco does well). Of course our OL has to hold up enough to let it happen, but we can't just be super-dink and dunk, the CHI D will just jump our routes after a while.
The final implication - if we fight hard, better sign, no matter who wins. If we get our doors blown off - then it's time for Elway to think about being a seller. As it is, barring a TO-fest and a complete meltdown by Trubisky (again), I have to call it 23-16 CHI. But still looking for progress from our O, and our young core....