Yes, the Broncos can make it 3 in a row

The Denver Broncos, the first-place Denver Broncos.

Has a nice ring to it.

The undefeated Denver Broncos.

Has a nice ring to it.
Now, let’s see if Josh McDaniels’ retooled squad can hang onto that lofty perch for at least another week.

I turned couch potato last Sunday and took in a doubleheader. First, I dozed off and on through one of the ugliest games you would ever see as the Oakland Raiders nipped the Chiefs 13-10 in Kansas City. Then it was time to watch an improving Broncos squad romp over Cleveland 27-6.

Watching the Raiders-Chiefs contest was akin to taking in the Broncos and Bengals the previous week — agony for hours.

It did, however, reinforce my earlier stated belief that Denver can get off to a 3-0 start. If you combined Oakland’s offense with Detroit’s defense, that squad would lose every game 50-zip.The Raiders are that bad offensively.

Case in point: Raider quarterback JaMarcus Russell, playing in good weather conditions in

Kansas City against a defense that last year ranked amongst the league’s worst (and haven’t done a lot personnel-wise to fix that), completed only seven of 24 passes for 109 yards.

His effort was only the second time in the past decade a quarterback threw the ball more than 20 times, completed less than one-third of his passes … and won.

Somehow, the Raiders won despite being outgained 409-166.

This is what McDaniels and his squad will be up against today in Oakland, a team that is terribly inconsistent offensively, middle-of-the-road at best defensively, and already a loser at home in the opener against the Chargers.

Don’t mail this one in just yet.

You might remember the last time these two met: late last season in Denver.

The Raiders ran the ball at will on the way to a 31-10 romp, with Justin Fargas of all people rushing for 107 yards and one touchdown. Russell, wasn’t too shabby either. He threw only 11 passes but completed 10.

That was, however, against one of the worst defenses ever assembled.

Now, we’re going to find out how good this defense of Denver’s is — the defense that is leading the league in points allowed, giving up only 13 over the two games.

The Broncos have been impressive stopping the run so far, put pressure on the quarterback at the right times, and have kept the opposition out of the end zone on all but one possession.

Elvis Dumervil, moving from defensive end to linebacker, has been a smash hit, getting four sacks last week and with nine tackles overall, third on the team and ahead even of inside backer D.J. Williams, who usually is close to leading the universe in tackles.

Another big player so far on the defensive side of the ball is inside linebacker Andra Davis, who leads the team in tackles with 13. Safety Brian Dawkins is next with 11, followed by Dumervil and Williams (eight tackles).

The Broncos are second in the league in yardage allowed, giving up only 253 yards per game, and — perhaps the best sign of anything we have yet seen this season — have given up only 70 yards rushing per game.

That’s going to be the key to today’s game in Oakland.

The Raiders aren’t going to put the ball up much.

Oakland will be conservative and try to overpower Denver like they did last season. They have no choice in the matter. If Russell puts the ball up 25 to 30 times, Bronco d-backs will catch three or four of them.

This will be a test of wills.

Denver will be conservative and try not to turn it over behind Kyle Orton, who — knock on wood — hasn’t thrown an interception yet. The Broncos have been fairly effective running it behind the combination of Correll Buckhalter, who had 76 yards rushing, including a 45-yard TD run last week, and rookie Knowshon Moreno, who added 77 yards against Cleveland.

Don’t look for a shootout here.

I’m going to take my 2-0 record and say Denver holds onto the ball, Orton doesn’t throw it to the Raiders, and the Broncos, 2-point favorites, win a tight one, 17-14.

Just win, baby.


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