Preview: Broncos vs. Colts

By Zack Cimini

Revenge is the ultimate goal when a team is bounced out from contention. While the off-season is slowly going by, that team can only think about the last time when they were on the field. For the Denver Broncos their 2003 season ended in a 41-10 loss at Indianapolis. A loss is going to happen to eleven out of the twelve playoff teams, which usually leads to NFL schedule makers configuring games around that. They want to promote an early hype for hardcore football fans to get them fired up in April.

Irony often plays itself in the NFL. Nonetheless the Broncos will need to play the game of their life or this weekend?s matchup against the Colts is going to be a repetitive dejavu magician act. Many would think the pressure is on quarterback Peyton Manning, but no playoff quarterback is feeling more heat than Jake Plummer. He was inconsistent during many stretches during the season, and Mike Shanahan may be ready to pull the plug on the Plummer project.

Plummer plays his best under pressure, so it?ll be interesting to see how well he starts the Broncos in the first quarter. There is no doubt he?ll need to use his arm more than he has if the Broncos are going to win. The problem with that is Plummer still hasn?t shaken his Arizona mistakes of throwing interceptions. If there is solid coverage he?d rather take a chance, than scramble or throw the football away. It?d be okay if the chances were on more deep balls to Ashley Lelie or Rod Smith, but eighty percent of the time they are short passes.

His ability to read short zone coverages is a strong weakness that Tony Dungy will be ready to expose. On the other hand, Plummer can throw a great deep ball and would likely have been benched by now if it weren?t for his big plays. Right when the Broncos look offensively challenge, Plummer boosts their poor output by padding his stats with a big play. A bad performance will leave the Broncos in a tough situation. In March 2003, they signed Plummer through 2009, which basically means they?re stuck with his contract unless they can trade him.

On the other side of the field, Manning has all elements for a quarterback. He?ll throw the short pass if needed, and pick apart the secondary for deep plays with the Colts train like play action. A scared team often trash talks and that?s exactly what the Broncos are doing. Trying to get into the Colts heads isn?t going to work, because they?ve done it all season long. How in the world can you call a team?s receivers weak, when they have three 1,000 yard receivers? Get on the field and prove that their season was a fluke by shutting down their receivers, and then you can talk.

Many people think the Seahawks and Rams game will be the ugliest of the weekend, but this matchup gets my vote.


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