It has been a tale of two seasons for the Denver Broncos, who at times have looked like Super Bowl contenders and at times have looked like they were fighting for the number one overall draft pick. Following the bye week, I think they will kick the weak AFC West while it is down and take a two game lead over second place San Diego.
Without arguably the NFL's most consistent shutdown cornerback in the league's history, the Broncos will really need to step up their game. Marred by offensive injuries and poor defense, all hope seemed to be lost for the Broncos after a 3-0 start.
I'm here to tell you, when your team leads a division that has a combined record currently of 10-19, hope is not lost. For you pessimists, the Broncos will at the very worst be in first place up until week 12. That is if Denver loses its next two and San Diego wins its next game following the bye.
For those of us who are optimists and believe the Broncos will get back on track against two fairly mediocre teams (Miami, Cleveland). Denver has a short week after the game against the Dolphins in which they will travel to Cleveland and then they get virtually another bye week in preparation for the Atlanta Falcons in week 12.
A player I think could really have a big impact is newly acquired wide out Chad Jackson. Jackson joins the Broncos after a stint with the Patriots in which he played in very few games after a knee injury derailed his 2007 campaign.
Jackson will see action as the Broncos' number four receiver as well as a kick returner with the recent diagnosis of Fumbleitis to running back/returner Andre Hall.
The arrival of Jackson, plus the arrival of running back Ryan Torain from injury will be another added weapon for the already potent Denver offense.
Torain was dubbed the next TD by Head Coach Mike Shanahan, and the scouts love his abilities. While Michael Pittman seems to be cemented as the starter for now, there was talk in training camp that Torain could be the number one guy prior to his elbow injury.
Denver also gets an added boost from TE Tony Scheffler, one of the best pass catching tight ends in the NFL. They will also get back Brandon Stokely, who in my mind is the best slot receiver in the NFL.
Denver will dare teams to get into shootouts with them, and Miami may be the first victim. Look for my game preview Thursday for more details and injury updates.