Three Keys for the Denver Broncos Versus the St. Louis Rams


The Denver Broncos wrap up their three game road trip on Sunday when they head to Missouri to take on the St. Louis Rams. This is another one of those games that the Broncos should win but unlike the Oakland Raiders last week, the Rams can be dangerous.

They have one of the best front fours in the NFL and have already beaten both the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.

Here are the keys for the Broncos to return home at 8-2.

Protect Peyton Manning: The punchers chance that the Rams have to upset the Broncos is to get consistent pressure on Manning and force the Broncos into mistakes. We’ve already touched on how good the front four is for the Rams and they have totaled 16 sacks in the past four weeks.

The Broncos, on the other hand, have been battling offensive line issues all season and reshuffled that line last week. The results were mixed, the Broncos struggled early but played better as the game went on. They will have to be at their very best on Sunday or it could be a long day for Manning.

If, however, the Broncos can give Manning time to throw then the tables turn and the Rams are in for a long day. As good as the pass rush is for the Rams, their secondary is that bad. They won’t be able to stay with the Bronco receivers if Manning has a clean pocket, and the game could get ugly early.

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There are other keys and we will touch on them, but the Broncos offensive line versus the Rams front four is the number one matchup to watch.

Play clean: The Broncos are a better team than the Rams and all things being equal, Brock Osweiler should see more time in the fourth quarter on Sunday. The only way the Raiders were leading the game for a short time last week was because the Broncos kept turning the ball over, and kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns.

Once the Broncos quit making those mistakes, the game turned into a blowout quickly. As mentioned earlier, the Rams try to force those mistakes with their aggressive approach on defense and that’s how they have pulled off the upsets earlier this season. If the Broncos have no turnovers and limit the penalties, they will have no problems on Sunday.

Pedal to the Metal on defense: As well as the Broncos played on defense last week, they were upset that they let the Raiders score on the 97 yard drive in the fourth quarter. They are looking to play a complete game on that side on the ball, and the Rams might give them that opportunity.

The Rams have struggled on offense and are going back to Shaun Hill as their starting quarterback. Hill hasn’t played in eight weeks and wasn’t very good when he was playing. The Raiders might be 0-9 but that offense is better than the one the Broncos will face on Sunday.

The key will be to stop the run, something the Broncos do better than any other team in the league and force Hill to throw. Then the Broncos pass rush led by Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware can take over.

The Rams do pose some issues for the Broncos on the defensive side of the ball, but they won’t be able to score enough and Manning will eventually get enough time to expose that secondary.

Prediction: Broncos-34 Rams-13