Broncos ready to rumble to 4-0 start
If Michael Buffer was announcing, he would tap on the microphone a couple of times to make sure it was working. Looking perfectly grand in his tux, after reading a lengthy list of introductions, he would then yell, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”
Today at 2:15 p.m. at New Mile High Stadium, it’s Rumble Time: The undefeated, untied and virtually untouched Denver Broncos go up against the Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team and loser only one time, that by a split decision.
Yes, finally, after three preliminary bouts, we get to see what the 3-0 Broncos are all about.
If it were a heavyweight title fight, the odds one month ago would have favored the bullies from Texas by 10 to 1, maybe more. The odds have gone down since then.
Now, we’ll make it 2-1, Dallas still a favorite. But it wouldn’t exactly be Buster Douglas knocking Mike Tyson senseless and silly if Denver were to win this one.
The Broncos have come a long way in a month.
They have been vicious defensively — allowing only 16 points in three wins and only one touchdown. By comparison, the next-best figure in the league is the 33 allowed by the New York Jets.
Denver has also been effective, if not exactly explosive, offensively. Kyle Orton, the question mark who resides at quarterback for Denver, is currently ranked 10th in the league in efficiency and has thrown zero interceptions.
Rookie running back Knowshon Moreno is starting to strut his stuff and tumultuous wide receiver Brandon Marshall is actually starting to contribute.
Josh McDaniels’ squad is indeed on the upswing.
Then there are the Cowboys.
Wade Phillips’ Cowboys, always a popular pick to reside among the league’s elite, haven’t exactly looked the part of juggernaut, starting 2-1.
They opened with a 31-21 win over hapless Tampa Bay. Then on a Sunday night at home as they debuted their new gazillion-dollar stadium, they fell to the Giants 33-31. Last Monday night, playing a second straight prime time game at home (how often does that happen if your team is not owned by Jerry Jones?), Carolina made the Cowboys look anything but invincible, leading 7-0 at the half only to fall in the end, 21-7.
If you are of the opinion much of the inconsistency rests on the defensive side of the ball for the Texas squad, you would be 100 percent correct.
Tony Romo has been decent at quarterback, they have two running backs averaging more than 6 yards per carry and tight end Jason Witten still catches about every other pass Romo puts up for grabs.
Their offense has not been the problem.
Dallas’ defense, however, looks like the unit the Broncos put on the field the last couple of years. The Cowboys rank only 26th overall defensively and have given up 1,170 yards on the year, 382 yards per game.
By way of contrast, Denver has given up only 644 yards in its three games, only 215 per game.
That being said, do you really think Denver will march up and down at will against the Cowboys today?
The Broncos will face their toughest opponent of the year. The Cowboys are in no way like Cincinnati, Cleveland or Oakland.
I just can’t help thinking Denver is going to win this game.
Sure, the Broncos will have a tough time scoring more than 20 points. They’re going to have a tough time doing that all year. And we know the Cowboys will become the first team to score more than one touchdown against the Broncos.
Romo will throw it often, for nearly 300 yards, and the Cowboys will effectively run draw plays — even if Felix Jones and Marion Barber can’t play.
But there’s just something about this Broncos team.
And it’s turnovers.
So far this season, the Broncos have recovered three fumbles.
They have five interceptions. They have 10 sacks. Those totals were just about the equivalent of what they had all last season.
Denver has given the ball away on two fumbles and is plus-6 in turnover ratio through three games.
Romo has thrown three picks so far for the Cowboys, who have not lost a fumble. They have two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Dallas is plus-1 in turnover ratio.
Turnovers are contagious.
They’ll somehow help Denver win today.
I’ll take my 3-0 record picking with or against the Broncos and say Denver improves to 4-0 by winning 27-24.