Thus far, the surging Denver Broncos appear to be unstoppable. In their first four regular season games the Broncos have won by more than two touchdown scores, thanks in large part to the reliable arm of Peyton Manning. Granted, the Broncos blowout wins were against teams with a young defense (Ravens), a winless franchise (Giants), a team with a notoriously finicky defense (Raiders) and a team with one of the worst secondary’s in the game (Eagles). Yet, even with these notions, the Broncos are still worthy of being considered the best team in the AFC if not in the NFL. While the Broncos have yet to be challenged by a competitive and well rounded team, the fact that Manning has yet to turnover the ball along with the Broncos tenacious defense successfully stifling offenses left and right is more than an encouraging sign for how successful this team will be in the near future.
Although Peyton Manning gets most of the glory for being the mastermind behind the Broncos prolific success thus far (he has thrown for 16 TD’s and 0 INT’s), it is their stout and formidable defensive front that has effectively allowed Manning to have great field position time and time again. Even without their intimidating pass rushers Von Miller (serving six game suspension) and Elvis Dumervil (signed with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency) the Broncos have still found a multitude of ways to consistently rush the quarterback while shutting down the run game. As a result, teams that are heavily reliant on their rushing offense (Baltimore, Oakland and Philadelphia) were held in check while being forced into a pass heavy offense. This typically resulted in teams that were normally dynamic and swift becoming one dimensional and inconsistent.
Assuming the Broncos defense can remain this disciplined and supremely successful, Peyton Manning will have to continue doing what he does best; throwing one beautiful touchdown pass after another. Luckily, Peyton Manning has become known for his illustrious regular accolades, which will go a long way in keeping the Broncos competitive and potentially undefeated down the stretch. However, Manning’s weakness has never been his memorable performances within the first 16 games of the season. Where Manning has struggled immensely is when he is expected to be the same lights out passer in the post season. In his career, Manning is 9-11 in post-season games with eight of those games being one and done affairs. While it’s hard to know how and why Manning appears to crumble under this particular spotlight, it is an intangible that has been Manning’s continuous Achilles heel. The only exception to this came in 2006 when Manning won his first and only Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts.
With that being said, Manning appears to have all the pieces in place to make another and more historic run at winning his second world championship. Manning’s receiving corps has an eclectic mix of strength (Demaryius Thomas) and quickness (Wes Welker). Arguably, this is the best offensive team that has been built around Manning in his career because it gives him a variety of capable options to pass to who can both catch the ball the consistently while being able gain yardage after the catch.
However, there is one team that could pose a problem for Manning’s red hot passing game; the Kansas City Chiefs. Although the Chiefs may not be the most impressive team offensively, their defensive secondary has been a forced to be reckoned with in the first four games of the regular season. While the Broncos have a competent rushing attack in Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman, it isn’t nearly as dominant or reliable as Manning’s passing capabilities. Assuming the Chiefs dominant secondary remains intact and healthy, they’ll have two chances to topple this intimidating offensive juggernaut that is the Denver Broncos.
When all is said and done the Broncos have proven to be a highly dangerous and well-balanced franchise that can win in more ways than one. While Peyton Manning may be the leading man of this well oiled machine, it is moving parts within the machine that allow it to work nearly flawlessly game in game out. If the Broncos can stay healthy and Manning continues to play at a god like level, they have a decent shot at being the first team to complete an undefeated season since the Miami Dolphins did it in 1972.