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WEEK 1: UNDEFEATED Denver Broncos @ New York Giants - 2.25pm MDT /// 4.25pm EDT


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Seeing as nobody else is doing it ...

Things to look out for:

1) Denver Broncos passing offense vs Giants secondary - There is nothing more polorising in Broncos country than the starting QB position. Bridgewater has, by NFL standards, a weak schedule to attack in the first 3 weeks and he has to win football games. That simple.
The Giants have a strong secondary when healthy, but may be missing Adoree Jackson which would certainly leave them thin at CB. Patrick Graham is a stud DC so I wouldn't be expecting a ton of points from the Offense regardless. As I've said all Summer, it will come down to situational football. Scoring 7's when we get into the redzone and converting well on 3rd down.
 

2) Denver pass rush vs Giants OL - The return of HOF pass rusher Von Miller is beyond a welcome sight for Bronco fans. Last year, Fangio was forced to scheme pressure due to injuries at OLB and across our DL. Miller, should he return to even 75% of what he was pre-injury, gives the unit a monumental boost.
The Giants OL may well improve from last year given how young it was, but there can be no denying it's cause for concern for them. Even if Denver pass rushers are struggling to win 1v1 battles, Fangio is as good as any in the NFL in dialing up pressure and Daniel Jones has had a sack/fumble issue his entire career.
As ever, this point comes with the caveat that we have to do defend the run to force the Giants into obvious 3rd down passing situations. 


All logic points towards a low scoring game. Two good Defenses, two good Defensive playcallers, two (at best) unknown entities on Offense. 

I am actually at a wedding in Lake Como on Sunday so I won't be watching the game live 😏

Edited by lomaxgrUK
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George hit the nail In the head in ID’ing the key matchups in the OP. Well done. 

I’m not a believer in Joe Judge and while I said when he was drafted that Daniel Jones is a culture fit for the buttoned-up, conservative, white-collar Giants franchise, he’s not a championship QB absent an elite supporting cast. 

That being said, I’m not a believer either in our QB or HC and we’re playing a game on the East Coast where the Giants will have a the emotional edge with the 9/11 anniversary the following day. I expect Judge and Graham to employ a similar game plan to the one they did in the season finale against the Andy Dalton led-Cowboys last year and Shurmur will fall right into the trap by coaching to his habit of going three-wide an abandoning the running game. 

I see an ugly, low-scoring game between two teams that will ultimately be non-factors this year.

Giants 20, Broncos 16

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A few observations on the matchups this week:

1.  Our receivers vs. their (depleted) secondary - not having Adoree Jackson really puts the Giants D in a pickle.   They could try and put their top CB James Bradberry on Jeudy, but given Sutton's size, if the G-men play matchup, I think it's more likely Sutton / Bradberry.    Jeudy vs. the other CB's is a big mismatch.   Hamler's speed vs. the others is another problem.   A healthy Fant would give the LB's problems as well.    The reason why Teddy won the job - ID the open guy in the short-intermediate area, and go there.     All of the advances the OL made last year, assuming RT is upgraded from last year's struggles, will be key - if they keep Teddy clean, the Broncos pass O should have success with Jackson out. 

2.  Balance with Javonte Williams / MG3 - time to see how serious Fangio said he was when he said that Williams earned a lot of trust this preseason.    Nothing against MG3, who's been very serviceable, and a reliable blocker / pass catcher, but Williams offers the chance to really add juice to our O with a potent, power run game.     Fits our OL's best strengths, too.

3.  Forcing mistakes from Daniel Jones - as much as Drew Lock hasn't progressed, the same can be said for Daniel Jones.   He's still making late reads, with poor pocket awareness that leads to sacks, fumbles and INT opps.    Even without Chubb, this is a major key for the DEN D.     The news that Chubb's ankle is giving him trouble lowers our pass rush ceiling, but with Von back and Malik Reed, I'm still optimistic they can generate pressure to create mistake opps from Jones.    The X-factor if Chubb is out - chances for Jonathan Cooper to show if his preseason success as a pass rusher translates with real games.

4.  Our secondary vs. their WR's - the secondary was our Achilles last year, but obviously it's a different year.     With Evan Engram hurting, the NYG pass game is going to be exclusively their WR's, so how well Darby & Fuller play (along with PS2/Callahan) vs. the G-men WR could really add to the pressure Jones feels.

5.  Special teams improvement - a bunch of moves were made to improve our cover teams, and hopefully Martin can recapture some of his prior success pre-Denver days.    The hidden part of the game is one it would be nice to clearly win.  

6.  Fangio's in-game management - this has been his ultimate Achilles on Sundays.   From bad clock management, to questionable TO usage (or non-usage), and decision-making, it's been tough to watch.   It's unlikely he's any better at this stage - but I'd hope either OC Shurmur, or a delegated role has been assigned to help here.

7.  Does Saquon Barkley play, and can he be a diff-maker right away - the one special talent that can change games, but also game 1 after just being cleared for full activity.   Probably on a snap count, too.    Still, he's one of the few gamebreaking talents that could change the game with 1 play.      I suspect he's going to be more of his old self next year (as ACL recovery to full athletic explosiveness takes 18 months, even if players return regularly in 9-10 months).    90 percent of Saquon can still be a pretty special player - but the lack of reps at full speed would seem to make a pitch count more likely - and I won't complain.

I had DEN when the line was -1, and a near pick' em ML - so even though the spread has surged up to -3, I still like DEN's chances.   Normally there's also the concern of West teams playing early games out east - but the fact we have a 2 week layoff after the last preseason game - makes this more like a bye week, where that effect gets muted a ton.  

We stay neutral in the TO game, and I think it's a 23-16 win.   I would acknowledge that Judge got his team ready to play each week last year, and Chubb's injury hits our pass rush depth, which is a key element to our edge in forcing mistakes from Jones.   Still, I have to like our chances, even with "just" a game manager performance from Teddy B.

Either way, it's great to be back again to real games.....can't wait!

 

Edited by Broncofan
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3 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

6.  Fangio's in-game management - this has been his ultimate Achilles on Sundays.   From bad clock management, to questionable TO usage (or non-usage), and decision-making, it's been tough to watch.   It's unlikely he's any better at this stage - but I'd hope either OC Shurmur, or a delegated role has been assigned to help here.

From Nick Kosmider at the athletic:

Quote

 

Take last season’s season-opening loss to the Titans. Fangio left timeouts in his pocket as Tennessee bled on the clock on its winning drive and said one day later that the misstep came, at least in part, because he was focused on the defensive calls he was making in an effort to keep the Titans off the scoreboard.

“It’s easier when we’re on offense because I’m not calling the plays,” Fangio said at the time. “It was my miss on that one and nobody else’s.”

Paton has signaled a more significant role for the Broncos’ analytics department since his arrival as the general manager, calling it “a daily resource for me.”

“I know Vic will lean on them once we get into the season,” Paton said.

The implication is that the Broncos have put systems in place to help take some of the late-game guesswork out of Fangio’s hands — or at least better support him in making the close-game choices that are sure to come. Enter Matt Sheldon, a senior analyst hired by the Broncos during the offseason. Sheldon, whose NFL path has intersected with Paton (Vikings, 2010-11) and Fangio (Bears, 2015-16), will assist the Broncos in opponent research and examination of overall league trends.

Sheldon will also be available to Fangio during games to assist with “any type of situational stuff — anything that you could think of that’s football-oriented.”

Fangio has made other subtle changes heading into his third season. He moved the players’ off day from Monday to Tuesday, a preference of many in the locker room. He assigned captains for the season — Bridgewater, Miller, Sutton, Simmons, Jackson and kicker Brandon McManus — as opposed to the week-by-week captainships he doled out during his first two seasons. It’s all been a concerted effort to create an environment, Fangio said, where “players do a lot of the policing themselves and the coaches have to do minimal.”

“Vic is evolving more and more,” defensive end Shelby Harris said. “He’s learning more and more as a head coach. The way we do practice, what we’re meeting about, the specifics and letting the team lead more is the big thing. I just think some things coaches can’t say. The players are the ones who have to say it. I think he’s doing a good job of just letting us be ourselves.”

 

 

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3 minutes ago, champ11 said:

From Nick Kosmider at the athletic:

 

I get that the buck stops at the HC, but honestly it would be mind-boggling if Fangio's staff doesn't change up the game management responsibility assignment.  He's clearly the best DC in the game.   That also means when it's a tight game, his focus on the D is going to always be a risk to come at the expense of the other parts of HC game management.   Here's hoping everyone realizes this, and the above is more than just good PR, but actual change in the way the staff approaches game management..

Edited by Broncofan
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16 hours ago, Broncofan said:

I get that the buck stops at the HC, but honestly it would be mind-boggling if Fangio's staff doesn't change up the game management responsibility assignment.  He's clearly the best DC in the game.   That also means when it's a tight game, his focus on the D is going to always be a risk to come at the expense of the other parts of HC game management.   Here's hoping everyone realizes this, and the above is more than just good PR, but actual change in the way the staff approaches game management..

Vic’s defense finished the 2020 season ranked 25th in points allowed per game. 

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6 minutes ago, AnAngryAmerican said:

Vic’s defense finished the 2020 season ranked 25th in points allowed per game. 

Given the talent we lost and the hole that the O put the D in time and again with TO’s and inability to sustain drives, that’s understandable.     By DVOA Den was 13th - which given the talent loss, shows the work he did.   
 

Context matters.   I say that with the take he’s best as purely as a DC, the rest of the HC responsibilities in game are where he’s struggled and shown little growth. 

Edited by Broncofan
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11 hours ago, Broncofan said:

Given the talent we lost and the hole that the O put the D in time and again with TO’s and inability to sustain drives, that’s understandable.     By DVOA Den was 13th - which given the talent loss, shows the work he did.   
 

Context matters.   I say that with the take he’s best as purely as a DC, the rest of the HC responsibilities in game are where he’s struggled and shown little growth. 

Agreed, the Denver Broncos were 30th (dead last) in the NFL in turnovers last year. They turned the ball over T H I R T Y - T W O times and were -16 (dead last) in turnover differential.

When your defense in on the field that much, defending short fields from turnovers....they PPG given up is going to be horrible.

I would like this defense to morph into a turnover machiene. Even when they were really really good for the last few years, they were never a big INT/FBL forcing team. They were always stout,forced 3+outs a ton and performed well in the Redzone-- but were never particularly good at taking the ball away.

I want to see aggressiveness on defense this year. I want to see crazy exotic blitzes. I want to see the 2ndary be ballhawks and jump routes.

Edited by AkronsWitness
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I'll be there in person which is awesome. Looking forward to it very much. Expecting it to be relatively low scoring, but to be honest I could see us winning this kind of handily. The Giants are not good. That's not to say we are, but they are gonna have a rough go in the beginning. I'm thinking/hoping for a Denver win...I'll say 27-14.

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My brief impression from pre-season in we've really toughened up between the tackles on both sides of the LOS. If that's really true, we generate pressure from the inside on defense and close the gaps and block well on the IOL, this should be a blowout.

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