Denver Welcomes Zeke

AFC Game Of The Week

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0)

Cowboys: With all the talk about their defense being an issue and would they last, they sure opened a lot of people’s eyes last Sunday night against the New York Giants. With Odell Beckham out with an ankle injury, the Cowboys changed up how they would defend the Giants receivers. They came out in a straight press coverage look across the board and it frustrated the Giants offense all night and held them to a single field goal. I was also impressed with how their offense looked as well and they didn’t just depend on Ezekiel Elliott to take the game over, it was a collective effort and Dak Prescott showed he could make some key throws when it mattered. It was a complete team win. Zeke did indeed do his part. He rushed for 104 yards and was even a factor in the passing game catching five passes for 36 yards. What I saw from their defense, I want to see if they can be consistent on that side of the ball all year long because with the way they control the clock, how they dominate the line of scrimmage with the best offensive line in the NFL and if Dak can become more of a pocket passer (which he showed he can), this could be a really tough opponent for many teams throughout the year. They’re definitely headed in the right direction. Sunday, they travel to face the Broncos in the Mile High City.

Broncos: It was definitely an interesting 2016 season for the Broncos. Peyton retired after winning the Super Bowl, Brock Osweiler leaves for the money (and now he’s back where he should’ve never left), they lost a few more pieces from the defense that was ranked at the top of the league. Last year, they became the first defending Super Bowl champion to miss the playoffs the following year since the 2013 Baltimore Ravens. It’s a brand new year with a new head coach in Vance Joseph, Trevor Siemian is still the starting quarterback with Paxton Lynch waiting for his opportunity, C.J. Anderson is back and hopefully he can stay healthy because when he went down last season, the Broncos chances at making the playoffs did once he wasn’t on the field and they still have Von Miller who I feel can finally win a defensive MVP this year. The only way Denver succeeds and gets back to the playoffs is if they get the good version of Trevor Siemian and not the guy that turned the ball over countless times during the second half the season. They will go as far as he takes them. I was impressed with their defense on Monday against the Chargers. They only allowed 74 yards rushing and stopping the run was their biggest weakness in 2016 after Malik Jackson left. They’ll get a true test with the Cowboys and Zeke coming to town Sunday.

Cowboys Player To Watch: La’el Collins– Doug Free retired and the Cowboys decided to move Collins over to right tackle and he handled his business on Sunday night for the most part. He’ll be seeing a lot of Von Miller on Sunday so he needs to bring it and think of everything he can do to keep Miller from beating him and shutting down the running game and getting to Prescott in the back field.

Broncos Player To Watch: Derek Wolfe– On a defense that’s featured Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Von Miller and Brandon Marshall, it’s understandable to see why he’d be overlooked. The Broncos run a 3-4 defense and he’s tailor made to run it. He can stunt on the defensive line, create pressure on the quarterback, run in space to bring down the ballcarrier and he can also defend tight ends in space if necessary. I see him in on trying to contain Zeke as much as possible and try to chip Jason Witten off his routes.

Final Analysis: This one could have the feels of a true old school battle. You have the best offensive line in the NFL and one of the best front sevens. Denver will need to mix their defensive schemes up in the front to really try and beat this Cowboys offensive line. I’d run blitzes, stunts and just use your speed to really get to Dak and Zeke before they can make anything happen. What does the Cowboys defense do for an encore? They’re facing two good receivers that won’t be easy to contain and limit, especially Sanders, I’d play him tight underneath with that safety help over the top and make him run short and intermediate routes.

Prediction: Cowboys 24 Broncos 20