Super Bowl or Bust: What the Broncos Must Improve First
Peyton Manning is playing at an elite level, surprising everyone by playing his best football after multiple neck surgeries. Having an elite quarterback is the main attribute of a Super Bowl winning team and the Broncos have that in Manning.
The defense has also gone from average to one of the best in the league. This has a lot to do with Von Miller, who had three sacks in the win against San Diego. Miller isn't the only one making a difference though. Elvis Dumervil and the secondary are providing great pressure and coverage, making it hard for the opposing offense to make a play.
Although the Broncos are set to win the AFC West, there are still a few things they can improve on in order to win the next big title: Super Bowl Champions.
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Although the Broncos are in the midst of a five-game winning streak and sit on top of the AFC West, they have yet to conquer the turnover battle.
Manning threw an interception early in the game that put the Chargers on top, but that was his only mistake in a record-setting game. The bigger mistake is fumbles. The Broncos have had a problem with them all season and they need to cut them out completely in order to make it to the Super Bowl. Sometimes the fumbles are forced, but for the majority of them, sticky fingers is the culprit.
In their first five games of the 2012 season, the Broncos had 13 fumbles, only recovering two. Since then, the Broncos have worked to improve the turnover problem, especially during the bye week.
In order to make it through the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos will have to hold on to the ball and completely erase fumbles from the stat sheet.
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Yes, the Broncos have the great arm of Peyton Manning, but the running game needs to be more consistent as well. We can't always rely on Manning to make a long pass to Eric Decker or Brandon Stokley.
This will now be harder after learning Willis McGahee is out six to eight weeks after tearing his MCL Sunday against the Chargers. McGahee was the featured back and had 731 yards and four touchdowns. It is probable that Ronnie Hillman will take over McGahee's spot until he returns.
Lance Ball could also take McGahee's spot in the starting lineup until his return. Ball has 94 yards on 25 carries and also four more years of experience then the rookie Hillman.
We will find out later in the week who will step up and take McGahee's place and how the running game will be affected.
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It took until early in the second quarter for the Broncos to get an offensive groove going and put some points on the board. By this point, Manning had thrown an interception and the Chargers had an early 7-0 lead. From that point on, the Broncos offense came alive and the defense made huge stops.
At this point in the season, the Broncos are still able to have a slow start and rely on the defense until the offense can get going, but is this possible to do in January and through the Super Bowl?
The Broncos are great at finishing games, outscoring opponents by large margins in the fourth quarter, but are slow starters. In the win over the Chargers, Denver held the ball for almost eight minutes in the first quarter, but was unable to score.
Although the defense is incredible, the Broncos will have to get off to a faster start and get points on the board early in order to make it to the Super Bowl and win.
The Denver Broncos are an excellent football team and have all the right pieces. If they can fix these small problems, there is no reason for them not to make it far in the playoffs and make an appearance in the Super Bowl.