For those of you that expected to see this as the first play released, congratulations. While some know me like a book, even the novice or beginners of squirrel cappers couldn't miss this nut. Denver (5-0) is one of 3 undefeated teams (Kansas City, New Orleans) coming into week 6 action, and while it might not be the best idea for John Fox and company to look ahead, last week's thrilling win over Dallas left room for plenty of Mile High improvement. Winless Jacksonville on the other hand (0-5) is one of four winless teams and well to this point is looking for at the very least a competitive effort.
Denver's offense has been the class of the NFL, but the club is looking to improve defensively. The Broncos rank last against the pass with 347.0 yards allowed per game and are 29th in overall defense at 416.6 total yards, though they've been playing without suspended linebacker Von Miller and injured defensive back Champ Bailey. Fortunately for the Bronco defense they are facing a Jaguars offense that is last in the league with an average of only 262 yards per contest.
It took Peyton Manning nearly 5 full weeks before throwing his first pick, however after his defense forced a key interception that led to the game winning field goal, Sunday afternoon's tilt should be nothing short of a walk in the park. Manning (150/198 1884 20 TD 1 INT) has completed a staggering 77% of his passes and is on pace to throw for 5000 yards and 53 TD passes. It's downright remarkable how balanced and dangerous his receiving core is, led by Demaryius Thomas (34-450 4 TD) and Eric Decker (29-427 2 TD). Julius Thomas (27-359 6 TD) caught 9 passes for 122 yards in last week's win over Dallas and Wes Welker (31-315 7 TD) has picked up where he left off from his glorified days at New England. Manning should also be grateful and confident in his running game led by Knowshon Moreno (65-331 5.1 4 TD) who ran for 93 yards and caught 5 passes for 57 more. Moreno's career has been resurrected and probably is one of the league's most feared dual threats in the backfield.
Denver ranks first against the run with an average of 69.6 yards allowed. That doesn't bode well for Jacksonville, who has averaged only 59 on the ground per game all season. That might even suggest that the best days for Maurice Jones Drew (74-208 2.8 1 TD) could be behind him. ones-Drew might have more success as a pass-catcher, as the Broncos have given up an average of 44.60 receiving yards to opposing backs. That hasn't been Jones-Drew's role this season, though, as he's only caught 6 passes all season. With Blaine Gabbert sidelined by a hamstring injury, Chad Henne (53/95 601 2 TD 2 INT) will start. Cecil Shots (31-411 1 TD) has basically gotten the bulk of the opportunities in the receiving game, which is not saying much since the Jags have recorded only 3 TD's through the air thus far.
Denver scored as many points Sunday in beating Dallas, 51, as Jacksonville has scored all season. Manning has been sacked just 5 times all season. Denver has an opportunity to set all kinds of records offensively, and the only thing that might stop them is an October blizzard. Don't expect me to offer you a bridge up for sale if you want to take 4 TD's, but there may be a better chance that the government shutdown ends before tomorrow's kickoff.