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Broncos / Giants – 5 Burning Questions

Q+A with

1. Peyton Manning seems to be easing into the season with 7 TD passes last week, but rather than the fastball we’ve heard he’s gotten back, we saw some accurately thrown finesse passes instead. Will this trend continue this weekend and where do you think Peyton’s arm strength is?

Peyton himself has said his arm strength is greatly improved but knows he can still improve it some iotas. He showed more zip in practice and preseason games and receivers have noticed it. He had to finesse on some of his passes against the Ravens because of some good tight coverage. No QB of his level of his proficiency throws the same way every play or game. When he needed to zip the ball in preseason practice and games, you could tell the difference from last year. He is a master of taking what the defense gives and if it takes finesse he will throw it that way.

2. You are in the SuperBowl conversation already with the weapons you have amassed offensively, what have you seen from the offensive changes this year has impressed you that maybe we don’t already know about?

One thing that they did not use much yet so far is zone blocking and I know they wnt to deploy more of it this week. You will probably see more of it Sunday as they want to open up the running game more this week. And if the Giants try to make adjustments to counter that, we have the capability to ride our passing game. And from what I know Prince may be out for this game with a concussion. With the new protocols in place for that, the vast majority do not make it back to action the next week. A second factor is we will have C.J. Anderson RB. He deeply impressed coaches and fans in preseson before spraining his knee.They thought highly enough of him that they carried him on the roster instead of puttimg him on IR or PUP.

3. We know how big of a loss of not having Von Miller or Elvis Dumerville is for your defense, but what are the Broncos doing to retain that physical pass rush and identity? Who are the next men up and what did you see from them last game. What do you expect from them against the Giants?

Elvis is not nearly as big a loss as Von Millrr is, who will return at a later time. We had 4 sacks in that game and applied pressure pretty consistely on Joe Flacco. That consistently is better than last year. There are three players involved. Robert Ayers is playing in Dubervilles place. He has played a lot, but never started. DE is his natural position and he sets a hard edge in the running game. He also had a sack. In Miller’s place, we have Derek Wolfe, who started at DT last season, where he finished with six sacks. We expect a higher sack total from him this year. And Sean Phillips will also figure in there too. He’s had a good career for sacking and he had two and a half sacks last week. All in all, I am very happy with their play and expect them to have a few meetings at the QB this week.

4. We didn’t hear too much about Denver’s ground game with Peyton stealing the show, and ahead of you stands one of the worst run defenses last year. Are they going to factor in the game plan this week? What kind of load will they shoulder this season?

As I stated earlier, you will see some different blocking schemes this week, which should result in some better running lanes for our backs. I expect them to run more this week and C.J. Anderson will likely see some touches too. Each back has different skill sets and you will likely see them involved in the passing game too.I think we will see a greater proportion of running plays this week, but maybe not radically. The NFL has evolved into a pass happy league and we have one of the best teams to do that. But there will be games and situations you need to rely on your running game more heavily, and that is the main reason I think we will see more and more effective running plays than last week.

5. If you were Tom Coughlin, how would you prepare the Giants to exploit Denver’s weaknesses? Does the potential of our pass rush worry you?

If I was Coach Coughlin, I wouldn’t see many weaknesses. His best bet is countering our Zone Blocking schemes. You might be able to slow down our attack some but I think you better be ready to get into a scoring battle, because I think that very may will be the result.

5.(a) Who is the X-factor for each team and why?

I think your linebackers and and backs against our vertical and underneath passing effectiveness. As you know we have a Slot Receiver in Wes Welker who is a master in the underneath passing game. And a TE that can go vertical and two wide receivers that can do likewise. I don’t think the Giants can afford to double-cover any of them as Peyton will find the open receiver the vast majority of the time. So our passing game against your linebackers anf defensive backs in single coverage is tbe biggest X-factor on Sunday.

And on Champ Bailey:

5. (b) Champ Bailey has not practiced through Wednesday, but is expected to play by Coach Fox and team. As for Mike Linebacker Wesley Woodyard who sprained an ankle in tbe melee scrambling after the loose ball in tbe endzone,it is not as bad as it first looked and he is expected back also.

Final Predictions: Giants 31-24 Broncos 35-24

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