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For a defense looking to gain some momentum heading into the playoffs, games against Houston and Oakland are great places to start.
The much-maligned Broncos D has been a work in progress for much of the season with injuries (Kevin Vickerson, Rahim Moore, Champ Bailey, Derek Wolfe, Von Miller) and suspensions (Miller again) causing havoc to coordinator Jack Del Rio's plans.
But as The Denver Post's Mike Klis put it, the Broncos defense is clicking at the right time. It might not have had much clicking to do against two of the NFL's worst teams in the Texans and Raiders, but the pieces appear to be moving in the right direction.
Von Miller's absence is obviously a huge blow, but it could be tempered somewhat by the return of Champ Bailey as the nickelback. After a nagging neck injury, Wesley Woodward has shown flashes of his early-season form, and there have been contributions from the likes of first-round pick Sylvester Williams and free-agent acquisitions Paris Lenon and Michael Huff.
The Broncos ranked 20th in total defense during the regular season, giving up 356 yards per game—a number not especially impressive yet surprisingly better than Indianapolis (21st, 357.1), San Diego (23rd, 366.5), Kansas City (24th, 367.8) and New England (26th, 373.1).
Nobody's expecting to see the '85 Bears, but they should be able to do just enough to give Peyton a shot.