Three Keys for the Denver Broncos Versus the Miami Dolphins


The Denver Broncos got a huge break on Thursday night when the Oakland Raiders upset the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were tied with the Broncos atop the AFC West going into the game, but the loss to the Raiders did serious damage to the Chiefs chances.

Without going into every detail, here’s the one thing you need to know. The Broncos now hold every tiebreaker over the Chiefs and even if they lost the game in Kansas City next week, the Broncos are in a great position to win their fourth straight division title.

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Now they have to take advantage of that unexpected gift and it starts on Sunday versus the Miami Dolphins. Here are the three keys for the Broncos to get back on the winning track.

Fast start: The Broncos have started very slow in their past three games and it has cost them two of those games. Even in the win over the Raiders the Broncos took forever to get going and if it had been anyone but the Raiders, the Broncos would be riding a three game losing streak.

They need to come out with a sense of urgency that Peyton Manning talked about earlier this week, and get a lead. The Broncos are a completely different team when they play with a lead. They can be more balanced on offense and their defense can be more aggressive, knowing one mistake won’t hurt them.

The critics have been out in full force this week and another slow start on Sunday, and the doubt will creep in for both the team and the fans.

Run the ball: We’ve been talking about this all week but balance will be key versus the Dolphins who have a very good defense. If the Broncos get pass happy like they did last week, the Dolphins front four will be able to put pressure on Manning and disrupt the Broncos offense.

No one is expecting the Broncos to run for 150 yards on Sunday and in all honesty, I’m not that worried about the number of yards. The bigger number is attempts. If the Broncos run the ball between 20-25 times, then they will win this game.

Don’t worry too much if the Broncos are only getting one yard here or three yards there, it’s about staying with it. Even if they are not getting a lot of yards in the running game, if they stay with it then the Dolphins have to respect it.

The second thing is this, if the Broncos are going to improve the running game then they have to work on it and that is going to lead to some ugly plays. In short, the Broncos need to commit to the running game and stay with it even when it’s not working.

Get the pass rush going: The Broncos defense is built around the idea of getting pressure on the quarterback, and they have not done that in the past couple of weeks. It would certainly help if the Broncos were able to get a lead and force the Dolphins to be a little more one dimensional.

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio also needs to be more creative in getting pressure. The Broncos have not blitzed much and they need to change that up. They have a secondary that can play man coverage, and that should allow Del Rio to send more guys than the Dolphins can block on certain plays.

The kind of pressure also leads to turnovers and as well as the Broncos have played on defense this season, they still aren’t forcing enough turnovers. Nothing will get the Broncos out of their funk faster than a turnover or two that leads to easy scores.

It’s been a long week of criticism and doubt but the Broncos can change all of that with a win on Sunday. The Raiders did them a favor on Thursday night and now it’s time for the Broncos to get back on track.

The Dolphins are a good team, especially on defense and they might hang around for a half but I have a feeling the Broncos feel that sense of urgency, and it will show on Sunday.

Prediction: Broncos-31 Dolphins-16