Pregame Preamble: Rest of the Season

James KanePreview, Regular Season1 Comment

Peyton’s Broncos started the season 7-0. If Brock’s version emulate that same feat starting with Oakland today, Denver will be crowned Super Bowl Champions for the 3rd time.

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Sadly, almost too good to be true!

It is surely beyond any realistic expectation that Brock Osweiler can go undefeated in his first ten starts, even if he is supported by an elite defense. John Elway couldn’t, Peyton Manning couldn’t – in fact, no modern day quarterback ever has.

Naturally everyone in the Broncos stratosphere is revelling in the mini-implosion in Foxborough where Philly’s beatdown of the Patriots relegated them to 3rd seeds. The fact of the matter remains though that New England are still ideally placed to ensure the ‘Road to Super Bowl 50’ is diverted from Colorado or Ohio to Boston.

Cincinnati and Denver will attempt to cut each other’s throats in a couple of weeks on Monday Night Football and New England will hunt down the victim like scavengers to prise away their seeding; ensuring at worst a number two seeding, a bye week and at least one game in the normally formidable fortress Foxborough.

The silent assassin in the drama unfolding before us is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers sit an uninspired 7 -5 but are more dangerous than their record suggests as they negotiated much of the season without their talismanic and talented quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

They have already beaten one of the Super Bowl favourites in the Cardinals this season and have ran the Patriots and Bengals close. If they win their next two games, away to the Bengals and at home to the Broncos, they will simultaneously blow open the AFC title race and hand the Patriots the inside track and No 1 seeding.

The remaining fixtures for the AFC’s big three, all currently locked at 10-2 are:

Bengals Broncos Patriots
Pittsburgh Oakland @Houston
@San Francisco @Pittsburgh Tennessee
@Denver Cincinnati @New York Jets
Baltimore San Diego @Miami

The Bengals have had an amazing season but I cannot see them sustaining it down the final stretch. I expect them to stumble at least twice, starting with tonight and against Denver. Baltimore is also a sleeper that could have a sting in the tail though Cincinnati should have enough in the tank to see them off and will prove too strong for Gabbert’s 49ers.

Prediction – 12 – 4 , Third Seed

The Chargers were insipid last week and did not mount a serious challenge despite Denver’s lack of execution on the offense. They were also unable to capitalise on Denver’s re-jigged back line as the Broncos proved they have some depth on D. Based on these facts, I cannot see San Diego causing a threat at Sports Authority Field on the regular season’s final day.

Same goes for Oakland. The Raiders showed signs of recovery early in the season but their commitment to mediocrity has once again consumed their season and whilst the Broncos should not look past the Raiders today, I think they will handle them comfortably.

We are also going to get stronger later in the season with Williams, Ward and Ware, Anderson and perhaps Manning getting healthy and returning to the line up.

I believe we match up well with the Bengals and will see them off at home, however I do have grave concerns about the upcoming visit to Pittsburgh and it is the one game on the schedule that is causing consternation.

As much as I want to believe, I cannot see Brock going 10-0 and I believe that slip up will occur in Steelertown.

Prediction – 13 – 3, Second Seeds

Where we have three home games, the Patriots have three road games.
Like Denver, New England are getting healthy again with Gronkowski and Edelman back on the practice field.

Unlike the Broncos, I see the Patriots winning out and snatching the number one seed.
The JJ Watt led Texan Defense will make life difficult for Brady but No12, like he usually does, will find a way to win. There is a potential banana skin in a trip to the New York Jets but again, I predict a fully equipped Patriots team will be able to successfully negotiate the hazard.

I hope I am wrong but I see them having too much firepower and experience for Miami and Tennessee and once again teams will have to find a way to win in New England to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

The Broncos and Eagles have shown that New England are not invincible but to be successful, it takes a near perfect game plan and execution and a healthy dose of good fortune.

Prediction – 14 – 2, First Seeds

One Comment on “Pregame Preamble: Rest of the Season”

  1. Sorry, there is a correction. Ben Roethlisberger went 14-0 in his first 14 starts.

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