Broncos vs. Bills: 4 Keys to a Denver Victory

Adam OdekirkContributor IIDecember 23, 2011

Broncos vs. Bills: 4 Keys to a Denver Victory

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    Despite the woes of the Buffalo Bills recently, a trip to upstate New York late in the season is never a picnic.

    Who would have guessed that this game would have had so much more meaning for Denver than Buffalo after the way the season started? Such is the case, and Denver needs to take care of business in order to keep control of the AFC West.

    Denver need only worry about what they control, and here are four things that will be keys to a Denver victory over the Bills on Christmas Eve.

Fast Start on the Road

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    Traditionally, a trip to the East Coast for the early game is a death sentence for teams west of the Mississippi. Luckily for the Broncos, their geographic location is not truly West Coast, and they have been spared that fate many a time.

    Still, if the Broncos can get off to a fast start against the Bills, it will signal that they have not faltered due to travel, and any points earned prior to halftime might go a long way to making the final minutes less exciting than usual for Denver.

    The first quarter that the Denver offense engineered against New England would be ideal for this and any future games for Denver.

Feast on Fitzpatrick

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    Von Miller does not have to be told twice to find the quarterback and take him down. That message will be the same for this game, just as it has been all season.

    Denver will have to be opportunistic against Fitzpatrick through the air as well. Young safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter need to bring interceptions down and not drop sure picks that could turn the game for the Broncos.

    Having Brian Dawkins back will help defensively all around, but the Broncos need to protect Dawkins and ensure that he remains healthy for the final game and beyond.

    Sacks and interceptions are the fuel that keeps this team running, and to win on the road in Buffalo, they must be plentiful.

Involve Decker and Thomas

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    The Broncos passing game has always seemed to be a two-man game of pitch and catch. Early on, it was a connection between Decker and Tebow, which has now given way to Thomas and Tebow.

    For the Denver offense to take the next step and start truly growing into a threat come January, both receivers need to click with Tebow during a game. 

    A touchdown for both Decker and Thomas in the same game would be a good sign that the Broncos are in control of the game and heading back to Denver with a win.

Protect the Football

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    It is probably starting to sound like a broken record, but it is the surest way to ensure that Denver stays close in a game and has a chance to come away with a win. Protect the football.

    During the so-called "magic carpet ride" that Denver has been on, it has been the games where turnovers cost Denver points against Detroit and New England that have been their demise.

    Tebow has been fairly steady through the air and not been a major threat to turn the ball over via the pass, but scrambling has been an adventure. However, it's not only Tebow, as McGahee, Ball and anyone else carrying the ball needs to hold on tight in Buffalo.

    Buffalo has the kind of offense that can be electric, which makes it all the more important to not give them any additional possessions.