The Denver Broncos, though they have a great record, haven’t looked really good this season. Peyton Manning has been having struggles and there is no running game to speak of. They’re still 2-0 on the season with a lot of momentum going into a Week 3 game tonight against the poorly 0-2 Detroit Lions. But don’t be fooled by the records, the teams actually do match up well, and it should be a great game to watch.
Last week in their Week 2 game, Denver trailed their AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs by a touchdown in the final minute, yet they somehow managed to put up a pair of touchdowns and steal that win, preserving a misleading unbeaten record. On the other hand, Detroit did not put up much of a fight against their NFC North rivals in Week 2, passively giving in to the Minnesota Vikings, 26-16.
The start to the season has been a rough one for the Lions. Even with Matthew Stafford having Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate on offense, they have not been unable to move the ball due to a poor offensive line that can’t support Stafford consistently. Defensively, the team is missing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, so Viking Adrian Peterson was able to dominate them last game while they tried to figure out a way to close the gaping hole in their front seven.
When you look at how they will stop the run, they’ll be up against a Broncos team that has just 130 rushing yards through two games. Ronnie Hillman put up only 75 yards with no touchdowns, while C.J. Anderson has 56 yards and no touchdowns.
This game will be a solid opportunity for either team, if the Broncos want they can get their running game back on track or Detroit will be able to get a grip on its run defense and shut Denver down.
Any way you look at it, running the ball will be the way to victory for either team.
Denver’s defense has been fantastic at getting to the passer, and Detroit is looking to Ameer Abdullah to showcase his game-breaking ability in the run game.
Many sports gurus and experts are almost unanimous in picking the Broncos, like at CBS, with very few giving the Lions a chance to win it. ESPN experts are predicting the same, with all 13 of their experts picking the Broncos to win this game.
We are a bit more divided on the game as despite being one of the NFL’s most explosive offensive teams over the last three years, it’s the Broncos defense that should be the deciding factor in tonight’s game. That means Miller and Ware will have to have great pass-rushing games their secondary Talib, cornerback Chris Harris and safety T.J. Ward will have to push hard to get those key interceptions to slow down the Lions. The pro-bowlers that they are, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The doubt arises with the offensive. Though Manning has averaged close to 5,000 yards passing in his three full seasons with the Broncos and will probably break Brett Favre’s career passing record this autumn, he has not looked like his former self nor does he reek of confidence as before. His decreased arm strength has put less touch on his throws. Despite Thomas being one of the best receivers in the NFL, he’ll need Manning to tight on his throws, since running back C.J. Anderson has not done much for them so far due to a toe injury.
For these reasons, we think Detroit has a good chance to win their first game of the season on home turf at Ford Field.
Our prediction: Lions over Broncos, 21-17