Well, we are past the midway point of the NFL regular season and our dearly beloved Denver Broncos are still holding on, by the skin of their teeth, to a two-game lead in the AFC West.
We have had some brilliant moments and some moments that make you shake your fist and shout “why, oh why, oh why?!”
However, despite the fact our defense has displayed the consistency and tensile strength of wet tissue paper during most of the season, there is still reason to be optimistic.
One word: CutRoyShall.
That is my new name for the dynamic quartet of Jay Cutler, Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall. These guys have the potential to be the best passing offense in the NFL, hands down. I was excited about our passing game before the season began, and I am even more excited now.
If Cutler keeps up his current pace he will throw for approximately 4,531 yards and 32 touchdowns. My preseason prediction was 4,000 yards and 35 touchdown passes. So far, so good.
I totally missed on the running game predictions. I said that the two top running backs at the beginning of the season, Selvin Young and Andre Hall, would each rush for 1,000 yards.
At this point Young has rushed for 268 yards, and has been out with injuries most of the year. Andre Hall ran for 144 yards before getting hurt and going on injured reserve. Hall is out for the season, as well as Michael Pittman and rookie Ryan Torain.
That brings us to the cause of the majority of the Broncos problems. Injuries!
In addition to the above mentioned injuries, starting cornerback Champ Bailey, starting linebackers Boss Bailey, Nate Webster and D.J. Williams and starting safety Marlon McCree (just to name a few) are all out on injury and may not come back this season.
No team can withstand this many injuries, let alone a defense that was shaky to begin with. With that all in mind, we should be happy with our current record of 6-5.
The defense has to find a way to get some consistency and resilience on defense. This means players such as Elvis Dumervil and Dre Bly have to step up and give the rest of the defense the spark it needs to stay relevant.
If that can happen, these guys can still make a decent post-season push, riding on Cutler’s arm and their extremely talented receiving corp.
If I had to hand out a grade to the Broncos at this point in the season, I would probably go with a good solid B- . They have had some rough stuff to deal with, but so has every team.
Injuries have been particularly severe this year, but you can’t make that the scapegoat of everything that has gone wrong.
The last two victories, over the Browns and the Falcons have been huge. The Broncos are finally getting the offense clicking again, the defense is making just enough stops to give us the opportunity to win and Cutler is performing like he will have to if we are going to get very far this year.
Both wins were engineered in the fourth quarter. In the early parts of the season, the Broncos were able to score early, jump out to big first-half leads, then hold on for dear life in the second half.
These last two victories were different. The team fought pretty evenly throughout the first three quarters and then turned the heat on in the fourth. That is how champions are built.
Both wins provided the opportunity for the Broncos to show what they are made. When it really counted, the team stepped up and performed.
It’s time for a new prediction. The Broncos will win the AFC West, get into the playoffs and make life interesting for any AFC team trying to get to the Super Bowl!
They might not make it all the way to the big game, but the team will have a great end-of-season push and provide those who make up Broncos Country a great reason to be excited about the team’s future.
The rest of the NFL has officially been put on notice.
The Broncos are back!