We are a week away from the kick-off to the Denver Broncos' 2010 season. Many question marks surround this team, and most experts have picked Denver to finish 3rd or 4th in the AFC West. That is neither here nor there, because the reality is that no one knows how good or how bad the Broncos will be this year.
The art of predicting how a team will do during the upcoming season is nothing more than leaving it to chance that your predictions will be correct. Who would have thought the New Orleans Saints, who sported an 8-8 record in 2008, would win the Superbowl in 2009? But I digress. The Denver Broncos' mantra this year is "one game at a time." That being said, let's take a look at the first game on the Denver Broncos' schedule.
Denver Broncos (0-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Kyle Orton vs. Jax. Secondary
This preseason, Kyle Orton completed 38 of 57 passes for 397 yards, 4 touchdowns, and threw 2 INT's. Orton averaged 99.25 yards every two quarters, Had a TD to INT ratio of 2:1, and threw a touchdown pass just less than every 100 yards. He averaged 6.8 yards an attempt, and completed 67% of his passes.
Conversely, the Jacksonville Secondary has allowed 228 (21st in the league) passing yards a game this preseason, and has two interceptions.
Though it was preseason, the advantage early on seems to favor Kyle Orton
David Garrard vs. Den. Secondary
David Garrard completed 35 of 49 passes for a total of 325 yards, one touchdown and one interception this preseason. He is averaging 108.3 yards for ever two quarters of play, 6.7 yards an attempt, and a touchdown every 397 yards he throws (ya that's a bit flawed). Garrard has a touchdown to interception ratio of 1:1 and has completed 71% of his passes.
The Broncos Secondary has allowed just 187.8 (8th best in the league) passing yards a game.They have totaled up 4 INT's this preseason, and have shut down some of the leagues to passing attacks, including the duo of Ochocinco and T.O.
This one is a toss up. Garrard has played well, and the Broncos have been stingy. The X factor is Champ Bailey. If he is healthy look for Jacksonville to struggle with their passing attack. If he's not, it's a toss up.
Broncos Ground Game vs. Jacksonville Rush Defense
The Broncos have seldom run the ball this preseason, but the top two backs, Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter have been out for most of the preseason. Denver is averaging just 80.2 (26th in the league) yards a game on the ground.
The Jaguars defense against the ground game has been atrocious.
Look for a big day for whoever totes the rock for Denver, as Jacksonville had the 31st worst rush defense in the league, with only one team worse than they were at stopping the run. Which brings me to...
Jacksonville Rushing Attack vs. Denver's (porous) Rush Defense
The Broncos had the leagues worst rush defense in the preseason, but here's the catch; the Jaguars had the leagues worst rush attack in the league,averaging only 32 yards a game. This one's a total toss up. Preseason normally doesn't translate to the regular season in these categories, but I'm calling it a toss up because no one really knows what to expect.
Conclusion and Prediction
Based on what we have learned throughout the preseason, this looks to be a "W" in the win/loss column for the boys in blue (or I guess white in this case). There are still plenty of questions heading into Sunday's matchup; Will Demaryius Thomas make his Denver debut, is Ryan Clady 100% and ready to go? Just how will the Broncos utilize Tim Tebow his rookie year? All this and more to be answered this Sunday at 1 ET. See you then.