It hasn’t been pretty, but the Broncos have managed to start the season 2-0, despite horrific offensive performances in both games thus far. Peyton Manning has been a shell of his former self and is the orchestrator of the league’s lowest ranked offense in the league. Manning doesn’t deserve all the blame as the tandem of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman have gotten off to a horrid start for the team’s running game. The Broncos will try to pull off their 2nd straight Primetime win on the road.
For the Lions, they have started the season at 0-2 and enter the Primetime game with a “save our season” mentality. Matthew Stafford has been nursing sore ribs all week, but he will start the game for Detroit. The Lions are in desperation mode which is never a good thing this early in the season, but it should elevate their play.
The last time these teams met was back in 2011 when Tim Tebow was under center for the Broncos. Detroit has won the last three matchups with Denver by a combined score of 114-37:
What Peyton Manning Will Show Up?
The Peyton Manning that we’ve seen through two games to start the season isn’t the same Manning that we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the years. He has shown a noticeable decrease in arm strength and seems to have less “touch” on his passes. Regardless, Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning. He knows what it takes to win and can still scrap up victories at this point in his career, even if they’re not pretty. He just needs some help from the running game to give the offense another dimension.
Matthew Stafford Not At 100%
Since their week 2 loss against Minnesota, Matthew Stafford has been suffering from sore ribs. While he is in no shape to take a beating, he will suit up and start on Sunday Night Football against the Broncos. Even at 80%, he gives the team a much better chance to win than backup, Dan Orlovsky.
Look for Jim Caldwell to implement the running game much more than he has, which surely bodes well for fantasy owners of Ameer Abdullah. Not only will the running game need to step up, but so will the offensive line as they have looked horrible thus far in the season. Depending on Stafford’s pain threshold, an appearance from Orlovsky isn’t out of the question.
Detroit’s Offensive Line vs. Von Miller & DeMarcus Ware
Going up against arguably the best pass rushing tandem in the league, Stafford picked a bad week to be banged up. The Broncos have already posted 7 sacks, among the most of any team in the league. Detroit’s offensive line has really struggled and have their work cut out for them as they face the dynamic duo of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.
The most crucial factor of this game for Detroit is keeping Stafford upright. They have to provide him with great protection and allow as few QB hits as possible. However, it won’t be an easy task against Denver’s stout pass rush.
Will C.J. Anderson Finally Breakout?
One of the hottest fantasy names prior to the season, C.J. Anderson has gotten off to an incredibly poor start to the 2015 season; posting just over 2 yards per carry with 0 touchdowns. He has been outplayed by Ronnie Hillman who is the team’s leading rusher despite less carries than Anderson.
Perhaps Anderson is in for a big game against a run defense that has allowed nearly 150 rushing yards. If Manning fails to get into sync like he has the first two games, Anderson could receive a heavy workload and take advantage against a shaky run defense.
Does Denver Continue to Lean on the Defense?
Oh how things have changed in Denver. While they have posted respectable defensive units during the Manning era, it was always the offense that made the money for the Broncos. Now, Denver has one of the best defenses in the league while the offense is among the worst, so far at least.
It was the defense that made big plays in each game to start the year which gave the Broncos wins. First, Darian Stewart picked off a pass against his former Ravens team in week 1 to secure the win. This past week, Bradley Roby scooped an scored on a fumble which proved to be the winning touchdown on Thursday Night Football against the rival Chiefs.
Will the defense continue to carry this team? Or can Peyton Manning rejuvenate the offense and get things going.