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Broncofan

GDT Week 1: SEA @ DEN

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Broncos Stadium At Mile High

2:00 PM CT September 9th, 2018

Coverage: Fox (D.ick Stockton, Mark Schlereth)

 

SEATTLE (0-0, 9-7 in 2017, 2nd NFCW) DENVER (0-0, 5-11 in 2017, 4th AFCW) 

Line:  DEN -2 / -3, O/U somewhere around 42-43 pts

DVOA:  SEA (#14 overall - #14 on O; #13 on D; #20 on ST) DEN (#29 overall - #31 on O; #10 on D; #31 on ST),

DVOA Ranks:  https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teameff

 

First off - FOOTBALL IS BACK!   Thank god, it's been sooooo long.   Can't wait.

So, keys to the game:

1.  Contain Russell Wilson - really, he's the one guy who can beat us on his own.  Everywhere else (their OL vs. our front 7 for both pass pro and run blocking), their WR's with a hurting Baldwin vs. our secondary), even with a depleted CB corps that no longer resembles the No-Fly Zone, we should win.  Really, only #3 can manufacture productiion - but he's also been able to do it many a time.  So how much pressure we can get to him will matter a ton.

2.  Our 3rd CB and new hybrid LB/S (and our returning ILB) pass coverage - Parks and Dymonte Thomas look to shore up the one area where pass O's killed us when we were weak - TE/RB vs. the nickel LB (we had none).   In addition, with Talib gone, we are down to Roby and Harris, so whoever our 3rd CB is (seems like Pacman, but I guess Brock could play there as well if Pacman needs time), they will be picked on when Wilson creates time.   If Baldwin plays, then I'd guess Harris matches up against him, and Roby takes on Lockett - that would mean old man B-Marshall (the other one lol), Jaron Brown (formerly of the Cards) or Tanner McEvoy would be the guy they try to match up against our 3rd CB.  Nick Vannett is the TE to watch vs. our hybrids.  No-names in theory, but that's where our weak links are (and Brown is actually a decent WR, under the radar type and big body too for the RZ).

3.  Keenum time - he's had a rough PS, but reality was before 2017, he wasn't seen as a franchise QB.   No doubt he's not as bad as his HOU/LAR years (Jeff Fisher can really bring anyone down harder than their baseline level that much), but likely he's not the 2017 MIN version either.   Still, even league-average would be a significant upgrade from our 2016-17 play (and to be brutally honest, even with a SB ring, 2015).   So let's see if he can generate early chemistry with DT and Sanders.   Would be great to not see 3-and-outs to start the game lol.

4.  Our OL protection and run game - Year 2 from Bolles, Veldheer being better than the corpse of Menelik Watson, and Matt Paradis being fully healthy coming off bilateral hip surgery (2nd time in 2 years) to handle more power rush, we should be better.  Well, we'd better have improved, otherwise the one area where SEA's D is still has depth is their front 7, although less star power with both Michael Bennett Sheldon Richardson gone (Frank Clark is the main guy to watch for, while they hope Dion Jordan can regain some of the lustre of a busted top 5 pick with MIA).  

5.   DT/Sanders vs the defunct Legion of Boom - just like our No-Fly Zone is a thing of the past, so is SEA's vaunted secondary - no Sherman, a retired Chancellor, and Earl Thomas coming in cold off the street.  This is a prime setup for DT and Sanders to both feast - I've got big shares of Sanders in DFS, given his price point is that much lower than DT's. 

6.  Getting more production than just DT/Sanders - whether it's Sutton or Hamilton, the TE's, or it's Booker in the pass game (Lindsay isn't getting much time, according to Musgrave, as he gets up in pass protection), we need a 3rd (and ideally a 4th) threat to keep the D's honest in the pass game.  Time to step up guys!

7.  Getting a lead to feed the run and play-action game - Keenum isn't an elite QB - his greatest 2017 season came with MIN D giving up less than 17 pts per game, and so let them focus on the run, protecting the lead, and using play action for passing.   Against SEA, that's the same type of formula we should look for.   If Royce Freeman can get 18+ carries, we probably win the game (because game script is flowing our way).    As with all home games, ToP is key - get 32+ minutes, and we wear the other team out.   NO MORE MULTIPLE 3-AND-OUTS to start games please!

8.  Special Teams - We were 31st in ST.  31st.   So bad I don't SMH I just LOL.  It's a new year, we have new coaches, a new punter, a rejuvenated McManus, and more importantly, no reliance on Isiaih McKenzie (he's backing up Pacman and Lindsay).   Win the field position game if we do need to punt with King, get better coverage (the new rules do focus on more speed, which hopefully we've adapted to).  

I've said all offseason we are 1-2 seasons away from contending again at best - nothing's changed.  But this is Week 1, at home, and SEA is a shell of its former self.  The ONLY 1 reason I see SEA can win on their own - Wilson going out of his mind.   Otherwise, we can always give away the game ( TO's being the always-present factor, and bad coaching is still a concern with VJ, although Musgrave's work does encourage me a lot).   On paper though, their front 7 is weaker, our OL is better, and their OL/secondary are still huge Q marks, where we should be able to take advantage.   Add in the run game, and a big investment to improve ST's, on paper, this is one of those 7-8 W's I see us getting this year (but paper is only worth so much lol).

As much as I don't think we have the stuff to be anything more than a 8-8 team this year, this game (and 4 of the first 5) actually match up really well for us.    I'll call  a 27-21 win, much deserved balm for the fans, and some relief (for now) for VJ & co.    

Great to be back talking actual football games that matter!  
B|

Edited by Broncofan

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I am actually looking at a 10-win season this year. This team has the talent to do it, and I think that Keenum will be efficient enough to make that happen. I think that the playoffs and the 2019 season will really start to expose him, though, and Chad Kelly will take over sometime next year.

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Only way Seattle wins this game is if Wilson goes off and Denver’s passing game is as horrendous as it’s been the past 2 years.  Both scenarios are real possibilities.

Seattle isn’t anything like they were 2-3 years ago.  We’ll see how their running game looks, but they won a championship almost completely reliant on the run game and defense and that was their identity.  They gave Wilson a big contract and wanted him to carry the team for a decade and its backfired.  Wilson is by no means a slouch and will win games for this team (could happen Sunday) but was never the guy they should’ve banked a franchise on.  Pete Carrol is a clown as well.  His rah rah college coach crap worked with a young team when he first arrived and they had a boatload of talent, but it’s clearly ran its course now with his key veterans all upset and wanting out. 

If Denver loses this game that’s a big red flag for the rest of the season.

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1 hour ago, 7DnBrnc53 said:

I am actually looking at a 10-win season this year. This team has the talent to do it, and I think that Keenum will be efficient enough to make that happen. I think that the playoffs and the 2019 season will really start to expose him, though, and Chad Kelly will take over sometime next year.

Just curious, where do you see the 10 W's?  I've said I see as a 7-9/8-8 team, I broke it down as follows:

 

In-Division:
 

OAK - 1-1 (yes they are bad, but we always struggle at the Coliseum).  You could talk me into us sweeping OAK, they're that lost right now with Old Man Gruden creating the Old Man team.

KC - 1-1 (playing @KC late sucks for us, early get to take advantage of young Mahomes)

LAC - 0-2 (they are just the class of the AFCW, not really close IMO)

So either 2-4 or 3-3.

Rest (10):

SEA I feel great about - call it 3-4 W's now  (depending on OAK #'s W"s)

CLE (closer than it looks), @NYJ - I feel  good about, although early game always a worry, but talent-wise we should win.  I'm good with 2 more W's - so that's 5-6 if we sweep the Raiders.

@ARI / @CIN - what sucks about @ARI is that we only get 4 days to prepare for a road game after facing the Rams.   @CIN worries me not just because of the road early game, but also given their OL is much improved, and that DL is fierce (bad matchup issues for us).   I think we split those 2.  So that's 7-8

@SF, @BAL, LAR, HOU, PIT - feel very iffy about.   Wouldn't surprise me if we lost all of them TBH.   

Obviously that's just on paper, but the schedule and who we face...10W's seems really optimistic.  Where do you see the other W's differently?  I'm not so sure we're that different overall, since your take that Keenum's weaknesses eventually show up, and we go more of a future-route in 2019.   Just genuinely looking for the different games we can win.

 

Edited by Broncofan

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3 hours ago, germ-x said:

Only way Seattle wins this game is if Wilson goes off and Denver’s passing game is as horrendous as it’s been the past 2 years.  Both scenarios are real possibilities.

If Denver loses this game that’s a big red flag for the rest of the season.

Agreed on both counts on line #1.

Especially agreed on last line - if we lose to SEA at home, with a gimpy Baldwin, an OL that is still finding its way on SEA, and a DL that lost Michael Bennett / Sheldon Richardson and a secondary that lost Kam Chancellor / Sherman...we're in a lot more trouble than we feared.  

As much as I think we're 1-2 years away from legit contention, I don't see this game as anything but a strong favorite for us.   A L would be really brutal for our confidence and our 2018 outlook.

Edited by Broncofan

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I think you guys have covered it. Basically, if we win the turnover battle I see no way we lose this game (sans a ST disaster). Our Defense matches up fantastically against Seattle's Offense. If we can keep Seattle in 3rd and 5+ then it's sack party time, and everyone is invited.

Vance Joseph eluded to Wilson's running ability on 3rd down - expect to see us spy him with our LB/S hybrid (likely Parks, but potentially Thomas in some packages).

You can't underestimate how big of a home field advantage we have, especially in our home opener. We are 17-1 in home openers this century as per Klis and we've had some horrendous teams in that time stretch.

Lets go Broncos! 

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Hey @Broncofan. Since when do we play at the Linc? B|

Should be a good game. Seattle will push us closer than we'd like I feel but think we should start 1-0.

Hopefully Keenum will show that his Minnesota miracles last season were no fluke.

 

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1 minute ago, PFM18 said:

Hey @Broncofan. Since when do we play at the Linc? B|

Should be a good game. Seattle will push us closer than we'd like I feel but think we should start 1-0.

Hopefully Keenum will show that his Minnesota miracles last season were no fluke.

 

Lol I knew I didn’t fix the copy / paste completely from my GD thread last year.  Good catch.  

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26-16. Offense moves the ball almost at will but struggles in the red zone. I really do think this is our best matchup of the entire season and it will be a fairly dominant performance.

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12 hours ago, Broncofan said:

Just curious, where do you see the 10 W's?  I've said I see as a 7-9/8-8 team, I broke it down as follows:

 

In-Division:
 

OAK - 1-1 (yes they are bad, but we always struggle at the Coliseum).  You could talk me into us sweeping OAK, they're that lost right now with Old Man Gruden creating the Old Man team.

KC - 1-1 (playing @KC late sucks for us, early get to take advantage of young Mahomes)

LAC - 0-2 (they are just the class of the AFCW, not really close IMO)

So either 2-4 or 3-3.

Rest (10):

SEA I feel great about - call it 3-4 W's now  (depending on OAK #'s W"s)

CLE (closer than it looks), @NYJ - I feel  good about, although early game always a worry, but talent-wise we should win.  I'm good with 2 more W's - so that's 5-6 if we sweep the Raiders.

@ARI / @CIN - what sucks about @ARI is that we only get 4 days to prepare for a road game after facing the Rams.   @CIN worries me not just because of the road early game, but also given their OL is much improved, and that DL is fierce (bad matchup issues for us).   I think we split those 2.  So that's 7-8

@SF, @BAL, LAR, HOU, PIT - feel very iffy about.   Wouldn't surprise me if we lost all of them TBH.   

Obviously that's just on paper, but the schedule and who we face...10W's seems really optimistic.  Where do you see the other W's differently?  I'm not so sure we're that different overall, since your take that Keenum's weaknesses eventually show up, and we go more of a future-route in 2019.   Just genuinely looking for the different games we can win.

 

I think they split with the Chargers, who can be wishy-washy at times. Also, I think they can beat the Steelers (who's D may be iffy this year) and Texans (who may be a M*A*S*H unit by then) at home. Denver has 10-win talent. This is a better team than last year.

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16 minutes ago, 7DnBrnc53 said:

I think they split with the Chargers, who can be wishy-washy at times. Also, I think they can beat the Steelers (who's D may be iffy this year) and Texans (who may be a M*A*S*H unit by then) at home. Denver has 10-win talent. This is a better team than last year.

I think they definitely improved from last year. We were honestly a worse team than our 5-11 record, though, tbh.

Here are my keys on possibly reaching 10 wins. Which I think is our absolute ceiling

1. Pass rush is elite with Chubb. We know it's going to be good, but if it's really really good that will make us fairly dangerous on defense

2. Our coverage outside of our top 2 corners is not a disaster. If it ends up being solid that's huge

3. OL stays healthy. Keenum will not be good enough if the OL falls apart. Some teams can survive an iffy OL, I don't think we can. 

 

Those three things need to happen for us to get to 9 or 10 wins. Our offense can't keep up with good to great offenses and our defense is not going to be top 5 (aka winning us games). 

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15 hours ago, Broncofan said:

Just curious, where do you see the 10 W's?  I've said I see as a 7-9/8-8 team, I broke it down as follows:

 

In-Division:
 

OAK - 1-1 (yes they are bad, but we always struggle at the Coliseum).  You could talk me into us sweeping OAK, they're that lost right now with Old Man Gruden creating the Old Man team.

KC - 1-1 (playing @KC late sucks for us, early get to take advantage of young Mahomes)

LAC - 0-2 (they are just the class of the AFCW, not really close IMO)

So either 2-4 or 3-3.

Rest (10):

SEA I feel great about - call it 3-4 W's now  (depending on OAK #'s W"s)

CLE (closer than it looks), @NYJ - I feel  good about, although early game always a worry, but talent-wise we should win.  I'm good with 2 more W's - so that's 5-6 if we sweep the Raiders.

@ARI / @CIN - what sucks about @ARI is that we only get 4 days to prepare for a road game after facing the Rams.   @CIN worries me not just because of the road early game, but also given their OL is much improved, and that DL is fierce (bad matchup issues for us).   I think we split those 2.  So that's 7-8

@SF, @BAL, LAR, HOU, PIT - feel very iffy about.   Wouldn't surprise me if we lost all of them TBH.   

Obviously that's just on paper, but the schedule and who we face...10W's seems really optimistic.  Where do you see the other W's differently?  I'm not so sure we're that different overall, since your take that Keenum's weaknesses eventually show up, and we go more of a future-route in 2019.   Just genuinely looking for the different games we can win.

 

I just read a betting preview that said we are favored vs Houston at home (as of right now.)

But on the flip side, we were only favored in 3 games. 

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4 minutes ago, OrangeNBlue86 said:

I just read a betting preview that said we are favored vs Houston at home (as of right now.)

But on the flip side, we were only favored in 3 games. 

Yeah Vegas set our O/U at 7 W’s.  That’s cold lol. 

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