After a fourth-straight win, are the Broncos a playoff contender?
Nov 20, 2023, 5:46 AM
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
The Denver Broncos are now winners of four in a row. After beginning the 2023 season 1-5, they are now at .500 with a 5-5 record after beating the Minnesota Vikings at home on “Sunday Night Football.”
I like when “Mile High Magic” has returned. It may not be what it used to be, but this season is starting to feel different after a horrendous start.
I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.
Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.
Playoff Chances Up
With a win, the Broncos’ chances of making the playoffs went from around 11 percent to about 28 percent. It’s unbelievable that we’re almost to Thanksgiving and the Broncos are “in the hunt” when it comes to playoff contention. The Broncos have built momentum over the last four games, and their schedule doesn’t get any easier.
Games that we looked at before the season, like their upcoming contest against the Cleveland Browns in Week 12 seem much more difficult than it used to. The Browns have a suffocating defense with a struggling offense. After that, games against the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions bring complications, as well. These three opponents are playoff-caliber teams, so Denver is essentially playing playoff football right now.
Looking across the AFC, you see teams like the Cincinnati Bengals falling out of the playoff picture. However, with the Bengals’ season taking a turn it also means the teams they play that are in playoff contention (like the Pittsburgh Steelers) get a boost from playing a team that lost their superstar QB Joe Burrow. Nothing is going to be easy, and the Broncos already put themselves behind with that 1-5 start. It would be remarkable to get to the playoffs as a Wild Card team in 2023, but Denver must play better football as the season goes on.
can you say PLAYOFFS?
with this win, the #Broncos chances grow from 11 percent to 28 percent.
— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) November 20, 2023
There is no room for error coming up for the Broncos. I know they could drop a game or two and still be alive, but I believe they need to win out. They’ve built momentum, and getting hot at the right time is key to making a playoff push.
This is a Dictatorship
The Vikings did what I expected teams to begin doing against the Broncos since they were on a three-game winning streak. They stacked the line to stuff the run. The Broncos had been winning games on the back of RB Javonte Williams, and they were also playing strong defense. Against the Vikings in Week 11, they did not run the ball much at all and didn’t have much success when they attempted to attack on the ground. At the same time, their defense was struggling to stop the Vikings for the first three quarters of the game.
The Browns must’ve watched this game and started licking their chops. Vikings DC Brian Flores put together an aggressive plan up front, but it all came down to putting eight men in the box – showing all-out blitzes – to get the Broncos out of their ground game. That happened as the Broncos went away from their strength – running the ball. Next week against the Browns, their DC Jim Schwartz will likely put together a similar game plan.
Instead of letting future opponents dictate to them, I think the Broncos need to do what they do best which is running the ball. Against the Browns, it’s going to take power backs like Williams and Samaje Perine to grind down the defense. There won’t be much running room against the Browns – or any good defense going forward – but that gives the team the best chance to win.
the #Broncos are letting the Vikings dictate to them. The best teams control the pace and do what they want, regardless of how an opponent is scheming to stop them. Run the ball, stick with the run, let Russ throw short-to-medium waiting for deep shot @DenverSportsCom
— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) November 20, 2023
In the NFL, there is no such thing as democracy – it’s about running a dictatorship against your opponent. Going forward as teams work to stop the run, I’d like to see the Broncos keep punishing opponents with Williams and Perine.
More Sutton Please
The Broncos offense needs more Courtland Sutton. He’s clearly the favorite target of QB Russell Wilson, and his fourth-quarter touchdown grab against the Vikings was a thing of beauty. Sutton has a big body, and Wilson has no problem throwing it up and letting the big man go get it.
Over the last five games, Sutton has 24 catches, 270 yards, and five touchdown receptions. He’s got a touchdown each week, and his presence in the red zone cannot be denied. Teams can scheme to take him away, but Sutton is too big and is back to playing “above the rim” near pay dirt. That makes it nearly impossible for him to be covered in the end zone.
Even between the 20s, Sutton is making big plays. At least once a game, Sutton makes a “how did him make that catch?” type of play. The ball only needs to be around him for Sutton to contort his body to come through for his quarterback. He will catch passes that are low and near the ground, he will catch passes and take a big hit, and Sutton can make things happen after the catch.
Courtland Sutton’s last 5 games:
5 straight games with a touchdown. https://t.co/qvpgRIyCDA
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 20, 2023
Sutton is going all out on a weekly basis. If defenses stuff the run, then this team needs Sutton to be a big piece of the puzzle each time out. He’s ready for the challenge, and there is no doubt that Sutton can continue to rise to the occasion.
A Sucker for Snyder
I’m not shy about my Zack Snyder fandom. I understand that Snyder elicits split opinions from movie fans out there but put me on the side of enjoying most of his movies. Snyder is the director and/or producer of some of my favorite movies like “300”, “Watchmen”, and “Sucker Punch.”
His style is his own, and Snyder uses slow motion and speed ramping to create intense fight scenes. It’s an acquired taste, but I consider Snyder’s movies to be “eye candy” and films that must be enjoyed on the big screen. Snyder’s work on superhero films for the DC Universe have featured this style with varying opinions in the results.
So, as I look for things to watch, his newest project “Rebel Moon” has my attention on Netflix movies. This is listed as a space opera, and Snyder has done almost everything for this project. He’s the creator, writer, producer, and director. For a guy like me, this should hit all the marks. I don’t know much about the property, but the trailer for the first movie has me hooked.
— Rebel Moon (@rebelmoon) November 19, 2023
Are you looking forward to Snyder’s new movie? Hit me up on social media and let me know!