Denver sits in control of their own destiny to make the playoffs, but face a tough Eagles squad attempting to wrap up the NFC East.
Denver Broncos (8-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
The Broncos have become a team that is incredibly hard to predict this season, but one thing that is known for sure, the Eagles will be incredibly difficult to defeat in Philadelphia this Sunday. Because of their defense alone, Denver can win this matchup, but they will need to really step it up on the road to get it done. Luckily for the Broncos, Brian Dawkins knows this Eagles team well and has a little more to play for than just making it into the playoffs.
Denver will need Dawkins to carry the load, reading his old teammate Donovan McNabb, forcing him into as many bad decisions as possible. Denver will not have Eddie Royal this week, so that detriment to the Broncos special teams will not help their cause. The Eagles on the other hand, have the ultimate playmaker in DeSean Jackson and will utilize the speed demon as much as possible.
The Broncos defeated two of the better NFC East squads, Dallas and New York, but lost to the worst, the Redskins. If Denver can show up as they did against the Giants, Philadelphia will have their hands full. If the Broncos play as they did against the Redskins, the Eagles will dominate this game. Denver has been a very streaky team and has yet to show any real consistency other than winning their first six ballgames.
Denver will need Champ Bailey to shut down Jackson. On top of that, Brian Westbrook has been cleared to play, giving the Eagles yet another playmaker on the field, though he should be somewhat limited in action. McNabb is having a great season thus far, and Denver will need to bring the heat to keep him from having a big game. Denver can not afford to let the Eagles score their average of 28 points per game or the Broncos will not win.
Turnovers must be limited, so Kyle Orton interceptions and Knowshon Moreno fumbles can not happen. Denver has had issues putting points up on the board, as they did last week against Oakland, and will need to score to beat this prolific Eagles offensive unit. The Eagles have a potentially solid defense as well, but they have allowed over twenty points per game so far this season. Denver will have to score at least twenty points to beat Philadelphia this Sunday.
Josh McDaniels needs to lead this Denver team to victory any which way he can. Denver can not afford to allow their wildcard bid to come down to the last game of the season against division rival Kansas City (who would love nothing more than to keep Denver out of the playoffs). The Eagles are expected to win this game, so more than likely the Broncos playoff hopes will come down to that home game against the Chiefs nonetheless.
Philadelphia is far from unbeatable, and they have been known to choke in games like these, but this Eagles team is a favorite to win for a reason. They are, without a doubt, the better team. But that has not prevented Denver, who has beaten plenty of teams this season that were considered better, from pulling it out. If Denver plays good defense, controls the clock, does not turnover the ball, and can put some points up on the board, they obviously can win this game. If not, it could be a long afternoon for the Broncos.
About the Author
Written by Josh Souder