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Week 9 GDT: Broncos @ Eagles


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Lincoln Financial Field

12:00 PM CT November 5, 2017

Coverage: CBS

 

DENVER (3-4, 3rd AFCW) @ PHILADELPHIA (7-1, 1st NFCN)

Line:  PHI -7 / - 7.5, O/U somewhere around 42-44 pts

DVOA:  DEN (#19 overall - 21st on O; 2nd on D; 32nd on ST), PHI (#3 overall - 5th on O; 15th on D; 5th onST)

DVOA Ranks:  http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2017/week-8-dvoa-ratings

 

So keys to the game as I see it:

1.  Brock at QB - is he the game manager we are hoping for, that can limit the TO's, avoid sacks, and keep our D from the short fields they've been facing of late?   Or is he the 2016 HOU nightmare with slow read ability, long release, and worst of all, poor pocket awareness and eyes on his target from the snap that the D can read with his height, and thus be a sack/TO machine for the opposing D?   I wish it was the former, but the latter seems way more likely.

2.  Establishing a run game vs. a top 5 run D - our O did a really good job of establishing the run vs. KC - PHI is a far tougher nut to crack.  Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan anchor an elite run D.    We also need to keep using Booker in the pass game, he brings the potential for a chunk play from a RB swing pass / flat mismatch against LB's we sorely need.

3.  DT & Sanders vs. their secondary - this is really our best shot, but it depends on Brock getting the ball out in time, and our OL protecting a very strong pass rush (their stats are deceiving, when Fletcher Cox doesn't play, they're an average front 4, but with him they are a top 5-10 unit in pass rush).  Next year, this could be a scary D with Ronald Darby (if they keep him being a UFA) and Sydney Jones as their starting CB's, but with Darby just getting back in shape from his gruesome ankle injury, and no Jones, their CB's are their weak spots (Jalen Mills in particular).    Can our OL protect long enough and Oz get the ball out to take advantage?

4.  Our RB/TE pass coverage - we get a break in that Zach Ertz has a tight hammy, but if he's good to go, another awful TE mismatch.  Frankly, we should think really hard about putting Talib on him (but given they have Jeffery and an emerging Nelson Agholor, I suspect our CB's stay on their WR's).

5.  Baiting Carson Wentz into TO's - we have to win the TO game.  Not only does Brock have to avoid TO's, we have to get either 2 strip-sacks and/or picks.   Wentz is having a MVP 1H, but he's a gunslinger and can be baited into making bad decisions on throws he shouldn't make, so there are opps to get TO's.   Of course, we need Von/Ray/Shaq to create pressure to get to Wentz early.  We do catch another break in them losing Jason Peters at LT here.  Still, this was a top 3-5 OL, now more like a top 10 unit.  Can we exploit their meh LT (they chose to keep Lane Johnson at RT, so their weakness is LT for sure)?

6. Special Teams - I don't know how Isiaih McKenzie can be any worse in ball security right now - Olivo & co. better have addressed this, or they need to sit McKenzie down. 5 fumbles on punt returns in 8 games is nuts.  And our coverage and blocking have been actually worse than last year, when we were awful.  LAST PLACE in ST performance.  Unacceptable, no excuses.  If we're not significantly better in the 2H, we're done, and so is Olivo.

 

I wish I could say we will take this - but I suspect this goes much like the KC game - our only prayer is the D comes out to play, we take advantage of the DT/Sanders advantage over their secondary, and we win the TO battle.  Realistically, even best-case, I see a 24-17 loss.   Hope I'm wrong...and get another crack at GDT next week.

 

 

Edited by Broncofan
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This will probably not even be worth recording this game. The one bright spot is we can look forward to Brock actually realizing unlike Trevor that he has 2 top 20 receivers to throw to. If Fowler, Taylor and Heuerman never see another ball thrown to them I'm ok with that. 

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No Zach Ertz is a huge break for us.   We had no way of covering him.  

Still, we have to cover their RB's - Smallwood is the pass catching guy that will give us the most trouble.  Of course, Ajayi/Blount will get most of the run work, we need our DL to come up big, can't really count on Todd Davis being effective first week back...and being as limited as he is.

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5 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

No Zach Ertz is a huge break for us.   We had no way of covering him.  

Yeah, that sucks balls. We have Trey Burton who is a nice receiving threat as a back-up though.

5 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

Smallwood is the pass catching guy that will give us the most trouble.

We actually haven't used him that much as a pass catcher.

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Just now, TheRealMcCoy said:

Re: Ertz, yeah, that sucks balls. We have Trey Burton who is a nice receiving threat as a back-up though.

Re: Smallwood - we actually haven't used him that much as a pass catcher.

Frankly, that's a break on our parts re: Smallwood.  We cannot cover RB's in the flat.   They didn't need him last week vs. SF, but against CAR & LAC, he was clearly your best pass-catching and blocking guy (the blocking grades they gave for Clement, Ajayi & Blount are misleading, because they aren't in on a lot of pure passing downs - way easier to block then).

Nice to see DT get targeted early.

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Those are 3 free points.  Bolles' penalty was huge because it wiped out a 1st down in the RZ, but even bigger was Douglas' drop of a sure pick 6.   We're up 3-0 instead of being down 7-0.

For all that Oz did OK, that type of bad late throw is typical of his issues.   Still, we got 3 pts.  Can't be upset at that.  The key is as PHI's D adjusts, whether we can adjust back.

Edited by Broncofan
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