Thursday Night Football: Eddie Royal's Big-Play Ability Is Denver's Only Chance

Michael DixonAnalyst IIINovember 17, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Eddie Royal #19 of the Denver Broncos returns a punt 95 yards for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Frankly, tonight's game between the Jets and Broncos doesn't set up very well for the Broncos. The Jets defense is just a better unit than the Broncos offense, and that will show. 

The Broncos are improving defensively, but I like the Jets to do more against them than the Broncos offense will do vs. the Jets defense. Frankly, that's not really even in question. 

But the Broncos do have one guy who can change the game. That is return man Eddie Royal

Most of his damage comes as a return man, although he does play as a receiver as well. As a return man and on offense, the Broncos will need to find ways to get the ball in his hands. 

Royal's playmaking ability gives the Broncos their best chance at the hidden yards of special teams. That's really their best chance in this game.

If you've ever watched a game where one team looked dominant and dominated the stat sheet but lost the game, special teams probably had an awful lot to do with that. 

The advantage for the Broncos is that while this game seems to favor the Jets, the New York offense is still inconsistent, and that's a compliment. In other words, they won't be scoring enough points to really put this game out of reach. 

So, if Royal can make a big play or two, a likely loss turns into a likely win very easily. That's what happens when you're playing a team without much offensive punch. It just doesn't take more than a play or two to turn the game 180 degrees.

If the Jets find a way to keep the ball away from Royal, I really don't like Denver's chances in this game. Frankly, New York is just a better team and their defense will really neutralize the strengths of Tim Tebow. More importantly, they will expose Tebow's greatest flaws.

But if Royal makes a few big plays, then Denver looks much better in this game. So, if you're looking at one player to make a difference, Eddie Royal is your man.

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